Ever had an issue like one of my hubby’s favorite movies, Groundhog Day? If you’re not familiar, Bill Murray plays a weather reporter who keeps waking up to the same frustrating Groundhog Day over and over again.
Sometimes a particular issue in marriage is like that. No matter how hard you try to work through it and discuss it calmly with your spouse, it always reemerges and never seems to get resolved. If this conflict occurs too often or becomes too heated, it can hurt the relationship.
There are three important steps to help you exit this Groundhog Day dilemma:
Step One – Journal and pray about the conflict on your own.
I have provided some helpful questions to ask yourself regarding the problematic issue here. Remember, in your journal writings you can direct them to God and ask for His input as well, and I’m certain He’ll give you additional insight into your problem that may be just what’s needed to resolve the impasse.
Step Two – Use the “Boundary Conversation Guidelines” I’m providing.
The “BCG” is a very structured way of talking through a difficult issue. I’ve also provided under the “Resources” tab, the Reflective Listening Exercise, which is a helpful tool for improving your listening skills—something we ALL need in marriage and life. If you use the Boundary Conversation Guidelines, it may help you and your spouse to reach a better understanding and calmer resolution of a troublesome issue.
If not, then …
Step Three – Set a boundary with your spouse.
Boundaries are not easy to communicate, so you’ll need to pray and ask for God’s peace before you set the boundary. Also choose the best time to communicate a boundary to your spouse—when you’re both calm, rested and in a good frame of mind. In other words, don’t try to set a boundary in the middle of a conflict that hasn’t been previously discussed during a calm time.
Here’s how it might sound, “I feel like we’re not getting anywhere and hurting each other when we try to talk through this issue on our own, so I’d like to ask that we see a counselor who can help us to discuss this constructively.”
If your spouse is resistant to going to see a counselor, then you’ll have to set the boundary ahead of time like this, “Whenever our conversation about this issue gets too heated, I’m going to tell you that I need to step away and take a time out. If you continue to try and talk to me, following me, then I’ll leave where we are and go somewhere without you.”
You might also want to add, “Please know that I want to resolve this too, so I’m willing to try to discuss it further at a later and calmer time.”
If you’re still not able to resolve the issue, seek the help of a counselor or mentor on your own to gain support and to be able to process through the issue further. If this is an ongoing issue for you, please let me know and I’ll make a point to pray for you and your spouse regarding this “Groundhog Day” dilemma.