Redeeming The Chaos

Posted: March 16, 2013 in Teachable Moment
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Last night I was at our small group meeting and the topic of discussion was barriers to godly communication in our marriages. Now, all of us in the group are parents of small children, and anyone who has kids knows that managing a family is the chaotic form of an Olympic. It requires endurance, perseverance and a steady supply of chocolate. However, this frenzied pace of family management has a tendency to build up massive amounts of frustration, which seemed to be the most common barrier mentioned by everyone in our group.

Frustration has it’s source in many different places. For moms it usually comes from managing the kids, the house, the bills, relationships with family and whatever else happens to come across their path during the day; for dads, frustration is often sourced in the demands of work, fighting rush hour traffic to get home in time to see the kids and balancing the needs of their wives and families. For most parents, including myself, all of these little sources of frustration tend to build up until the end of the day when our spouse comes home and says that magical phrase “How was your day?” Suddenly every tantrum the kids have thrown and every item on the checklist that didn’t get done comes flooding out of our mouths like an angry bull finally released from its cage. Hence the conditions are perfect for a fight.

So the question posed by our group leader was how do we remove the barrier of that frustration in order to communicate our struggles in a way that honors God and does not wound our spouse? The first thing that came to my mind was stopping at the end of the day when the kids are asleep and set aside time to just focus on each other. While this is a good thing to do, one of my friends in the group said something that made me think about the subject a little deeper. She said that in the moments where the day seems to be swallowing us alive and frustration threatens to poison the rest of the evening, we must refocus our mind on what it means to love our spouse in that moment instead of just focusing on what needs to happen to make the issues go away. Focus time with our spouse should always be a priority, but when the pace of life makes that impossible on any given day we have to know how to elevate our spouse above our frustration so that managing the issues can become a team effort that is edifying to our marriage. For instance, speaking in an agitated, confrontational tone might serve as an outlet for my frustration but it wounds my husband. Choosing to speak with kindness elevates my husband above my own desire to relieve stress and there is opportunity for the frustrations of life to be managed in a team effort that reflects the love of Christ, instead of being compounded in opposition.

This perspective from my friend added new depth to my original line of thinking and my challenge to all of my other fellow parents out there is to shift your focus from simply trying to attain that quiet moment to learning how to redeem the daily chaos by elevating the needs of your spouse in the moment. In doing this, the quiet moments will be that much sweeter because the love we practice every day adds depth to our marriage and gives life to our souls.

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