What if there was a process to change your marriage? And what if it was not only biblical, but had been proven to work?
What if there was even tons of research behind it?
And the method had been around for literally decades?
Here’s the thing – ALL marriages have conflict.
Based on what we’ve seen or failed to see in our own childhoods, we have notions about conflict. And for whatever reason, VERY FEW people actually know what to do to walk through conflict well. Many people avoid it all together, or handle it in an aggressive or abusive way.
But what if God naturally wired us to try?
Research proves that these natural attempts work. The same attempts, however fail when we judge ourselves or others in an unhealthy way.
And what if, conflict resolved well was such a non-event that we literally didn’t even notice it when we did it?
We ALREADY do this. But too often, we get our identity wrapped up in another person’s opinion of us, or we judge them, and this pride keeps us from working through the conflict well.
You’ve already started part of the process as you journey with us in The Respect Dare – but it is seriously just a slice of what I’m talking about.
Daughters of Sarah.
I always knew there was something amazing about the class. A number of the activities were Inspired. I had this confirmed when a few licensed psychologists told me that what we do in the class works because IT WORKS…and by the way, “How did you know to put that exercise in?” and um, I didn’t. God led me.
I’m not a psychologist or a psychiatrist.
I’m a communication coach.
But we have exercises and assignments that are part of psychology woven into the Daughters class – hand placed there by God, I believe.
Because there’s no way I could have known on my own to do what we did.
So today I’m asking for prayer.
Here’s what happens – typically, we go through our marriage, sailing along, and then when the “newness” wears off, when that infatuation stage wears off, we begin to discover our spouse’s differences – and often we start having more conflicts. They typically don’t get resolved well, adding to the current state of hurting, and a climate of resentment based on perceived criticisms emerges, which then arouses defensiveness. After a time, this cycle becomes so pervasive that one or both of the couple start to “check out” in the middle of dialogue.
The communication that remains is tinged with the evidence of this resentment.
We start focusing on what is wrong, and our spouse’s inadequacies. Our attitude becomes negative. Conversations don’t start in gentle ways, but are rather harsh in their start up. Defensiveness is thick enough for both parties that attempts to repair during conflict are mis-perceived in the worst possible ways. Motives are judged. Resentment builds.
In many Christian marriages, we are told to be long suffering, overlook insults and women are told to have a gentle and quiet spirit, such that we feel like we can’t say anything at all to our husband about how we are feeling. Then we can’t take it any more and we blow, emotionally vomiting all over our husband, or him over us. Or we suffer in silence, with issues left unresolved, festering like infected wounds. The negative perceptions create a lack of respect which works its way into both sides of the relationship. Contempt slithers into the communication between the husband and wife.
Both wanted something different long ago. But they didn’t know how to stop the escalating cycle, and have ended up in a negative place.
For too many years, a subtle message has filtered through the church, one which helps to destroy these marriages. The message is “don’t complain, don’t have problems, sacrifice, serve like Jesus.” And while those things might be taught with good intentions, the end result is all too often this message instead: LIE TO YOUR SPOUSE.
The research is in. This does not work, nor has it ever.
Dr. John Gottman of the Gottman Institute has spent his life researching couples to find out what works in marriage and what causes divorce.
The presence of conflict is irrelevant.
What matters is the way we walk through it and how we repair a damaged relationship.
I nearly fell out of my chair when I realized that the interventions he teaches clinical psychologists and family therapists are actually in our courses, and some are in The Respect Dare.
It didn’t surprise me that these things were also all in the Bible.
His teaching flies in the face of the latest trend, too, which labels couples who are “conflicting” as being unhealthy.
CONFLICT IS NECESSARY in healthy relationships.
There are, however, unhealthy ways to resolve it.
Happily, there are also healthy ways to resolve it.
And so we need you to pray.
We are teaching wives how to “speak the truth in love” and work through conflict in healthy ways.
We are literally teaching them these interventions. This isn’t lecture style, but in modeled practice teaching. The interventions have been in our classes since the beginning. We’re doing something no one else does – teach wives how to truly HELP their husband by facilitating these things within their own relationship.
Until recently becoming steeped in Gottman’s research, I didn’t know WHY Daughters of Sarah worked – I just knew that it did. And in the few cases where it didn’t influence the marriage, we’ve discovered what to do there as well.
We are humbled by this new awareness, and deeply need your prayers. The opposition from the enemy is strong, yet we know He who is in us is greater than he who is against us. But we deeply covet your prayers as we continue this hard work. Please pray for unity on our team, for things to fall into place, for His will in all the many many details.
And join us in claiming His glory NOW.
I can hardly see straight I’m so excited about this and the results it will have for His children.
Love to you,
If you want to explore ways of getting your tweens, teens and twenty-somethings to share in the household responsibilities, read With All Due Respect
Women who’ve read Dare to Respect can’t stop reading until they reach the last page!