If you’re married and have a couple seasons under your belt, you know that it’s going to be vitally important to learn to navigate tension together.
You’re going to fight. That’s a good thing; it’s the tension of iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 17:17). If you’ll let it, that tension will make you better.
You’re also going to deal with the tension that emotions create. Sometimes these emotions are deeply grounded in a situation that we’re walking through, and sometimes they’re just coming at us from out of nowhere.
Everyone processes emotions differently, and learning that difference is a huge step in allowing your marriage to be a safe and health place to process them.
I’m an ‘internalizer’. When I’m stressed, hurt, angry, or sad I try to keep it all inside. My wife has learned how to tell when I’ve had a bad day, how to serve me when those days come, and how to help me process the emotions.
When Amanda is upset, I’ve learned to ask her three questions, because, as her husband, my primary job is to always point her to Jesus first.
Question #1 – Have you prayed about this?
I don’t mean a passing prayer, like “God fix this.” I mean, have you sat down and really sought the wisdom of God in this situation? Have you searched the Scriptures? Have you listened for His voice?
The reason I ask this question is simple: if Jesus is going to be central to our lives, He must be central to everything. It’s too often that we run to other people before we turn to Him.
Pray first. That’s how we approach things.
Questions #2 – Who are you primarily leaning on for emotional support: me or Jesus?
If you know how I feel about my family, you know that I want to be there. I want to hold my wife’s hand when she cries. I want to hug her when she’s hurt. I want to be there as I should be.
But… there are things I cannot be to her.
Here’s a very important lesson I’ve learned recently:
You cannot hold a position in someone else’s life that God has reserved only for Jesus.
The Scriptures tell us that Jesus should be our “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) and invites us to “cast all our cares on Him” (1 Peter 5:7). If I try to be any of those things, or if my wife were to expect me to be them, I’d only fail her, break her heart, and leave pain in the process.
Only Jesus can be Jesus, and only He can carry the full weight of our worry, anxiety, and fear. Faith in Him frees us of those, and, in turn, allows us to look to Him first.
Question #3 – Are you trusting Jesus with the outcome?
It’s easy to trust Jesus as a concept when everything is going well. You’re kids are behaving, there’s plenty of money in the bank account, and you haven’t fought in a few days… “YES, I TRUST JESUS!”
But have something blow up…
Watch yourself in those moments. You’ll try to fix it. You’ll get involved where you shouldn’t.
When we try to fix things, we’re practically telling Jesus: “I’m not sure I can trust what You’re doing with my problem.”
And… it’s not just ‘trusting’ Him in some abstract way; it’s trusting Him with the outcome that really matters.
When this is all over (whatever it is), Jesus is going to have His way and you’re going to be better for it. Do you trust that? If you do, hold on to it, remind yourself of it, and rest in it.
* * * * *
How do you work to process emotions in a healthy way that constantly points you to trust Jesus? Leave a comment below and share it!