Marriage Series: Step Three
Loving Complaints Require Self Examination
Step Three: Speak the Truth in Love. This is not easy and is almost impossible while you are angry. Cool off. Wait an hour or longer.
You must have a soft start. Don’t begin with an harsh language. “I need to tell you how wrong you were last night” will rarely lead to a mutually loving conversation. Start with an expression of hope and love. “I love you and want us to grow closer together.” Follow immediately with ownership. “I’m 52 far from perfect and know I’m not the best at hearing criticism” “My stuff is involved here too, this is not just about you”. The next ingredient is benefit of the doubt. “You probably didn’t mean it this way, but when you said__________, it really hurt my feelings. Even when I’m 99.9% sure they did it on purpose, I’m often wrong about their motivations and benefit of the doubt helps them hear what I’m saying without getting defensive.
The next ingredient is forgiveness. “I do love you and forgive you and I won’t hold this against you or remind you of it”. The final ingredient is your own apology. What you say? She hurt me! True but I’d say about 95% of the time, we sin in response to being hurt. “I want you to know that I’m sorry I got so mad” “I’m sorry I pouted all afternoon”. “I’m sorry I reacted so strongly.” Generally, you won’t have to dig very deeply to find your unloving response.