OVERCOMING THE DEAD SILENCE
HAPPY MARRIAGE MEMOS
by John Kpikpi
James and his wife Patricia were having a conversation when at some point James noticed that Patricia had become very quiet and was no longer speaking. James, puzzled, asked whether something was wrong but received no answer from Patricia. After trying hard to find out what was the matter James grew frustrated and stopped asking. A dead silence descended on the home.
Most couples will, I believe, have experienced a situation like this before! Sometimes the silence can persist for hours or days or weeks unless we take some action to reverse the situation. But before we can take the right action, we need a clear diagnosis.
The dead silence in James’ house illustrates one way in which some people respond to pain. James must have said something which, intentionally or unintentionally, hurt Patricia and her reaction, which is not uncommon, was to retreat into her ‘shell’. Just as a snail retreats back into its shell when it touches something uncomfortable or senses danger, so also do we withdraw when we are hurt by each other’s words or actions. After all, who wants to stick out their neck for their head to be knocked repeatedly?! But although this is a very natural reaction, it is not a mature reaction to the pain that we often cause each other. So what should we do?
We need to accept that pain is part of the growing process in any relationship. You are not alone in this. So do not think that a strange thing is happening to you when your spouse causes you some pain!
Although it is not easy to get rid of the pain very quickly, do not keep it too long either. One of the things that pain can produce is anger. In fact God’s word teaches us that we should not store the pain (and anger) for more than 24 hours:
In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:26-27)
The best way of getting rid of the pain is through forgiveness. Speak to the Lord about your pain and ask Him to help you to forgive your spouse. You will be surprised how quickly help will come to you for this. The Lord Jesus is ever ready to help us with this work of forgiveness, in the small things and in the big things. He has experienced pain and hurt of every kind – ridicule, shame, betrayal, misunderstanding – and He dealt with all of these on the cross when He gave himself to be sacrificed for those who had hurt Him very badly. He knows exactly what it takes to deal with every hurt and pain. Ask Him for help now. When He comes in to help, you will find that the dead silence will disappear, the conversation will begin to flow again and the abundant life He promised will fill your home once more.
Let this Easter be real for you at home. Forgive one another.
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13-14)