Today I finished chapter 3 and began 4 of "Love and War," by John and Stasi Eldredge, about which I am writing this blog series.
Like they had started discussing yesterday, the latter half of chapter three continued to talk about our "way of relating," or "our relating style." They attribute each individual's way of relating as derived from our "life story," our wounds, and our sin. They've also referred to it as our "way of dealing with life."
They gave examples of how a man and woman's individual style of relating is inherently different from one another's (each of ours is somewhat unique), and that these can cause a number of conflicts in a marriage - often conflicts that deep down have nothing to do with the other person or the marriage. Often they are inner conflicts whose roots lie in experiences and wounds from our pasts.
They spoke of how John and Stasi have both sought individual counseling at different times and what a benefit that brought to their marriage. It made me think that if each married individual did that, we'd all be better off! I think the success rates of marriages would go way up! In fact, I am of the opinion that everyone would benefit from some counseling. No one in this world is unwounded. But more than that, I think everyone who hopes or plans to get married someday should seek individual counseling, whether your currently dating the person you hope to marry or still single. Why not work on healing as many of those wounds as possible NOW, instead of waiting for them to blow up into a problem that hurts your marriage down the line? Letting that happen just seems stupid to me. I know I would benefit from further counseling, and after hearing it discussed from John and Stasi's perspective, I fully intend on getting some before I get remarried someday. I mean, after what I've been through with my first husband, my second will be thanking his lucky stars that I was that smart, lol. Which doesn't mean he won't still need to walk with me through different parts of my healing. I think there are still going to be certain things in which he will actually be integral to my healing - like providing a feeling of safety, exercising calm strength, and being a spiritual leader. All of those things will contribute to my healing process, and they're all very high on my list of what I'm looking for in my future hubby.
I think everyone would be wise to seek individual counseling before they get married, especially if they're currently dating the person they think they will marry. Even more so, I think it's doubly wise to get counseling when you're having a marital struggle that is really not about the marriage or your husband, but about you. When God shows you that something you're struggling with is something to do with you and not your husband, it's your responsibility to address that instead of taking it out on him - although he should certainly walk with you through it. A spouse should always be there for you and walk with you through your personal struggles, but they shouldn't have to suffer unfairly because of them.
That was only one half of what they talked about in the portion that I listened to today, but it's so chock full of things to think about that the second half will have to wait!