How do you treat your parents? Do you honor them, respect them, and listen to their advice? How do your parents treat you? Do they lay down the law, give you no direction, or allow you to make mistakes while helping you learn from them? Do you enjoy spending time with your parents or do you look for any excuse you can to avoid them?
Your relationship with your parents will affect your future marriage. Guys, how you treat your mother is a glimpse into how you will naturally treat your wife. If you have anger towards your mother that is not resolved, it is just a matter of time before your sweetheart gets the brunt of it. Maybe your mom doesn’t keep promises and she broke your heart by backing out of plans repeatedly when you were a kid. Even if your future wife does not break promises often, she will likely get blasted from you on the rare occasion that she doesn’t keep her word unless you resolve your anger with your mom.
Ladies, how you treat your dad is a glimpse into how you will naturally treat your husband. Maybe your dad spoke to you in a condescending tone for most of your life. If you have anger towards your dad that is not resolved, it is just a matter of time before your guy gets blindsided with your wrath (or tears). If your future husband has a rough day and speaks unkindly to you, you may become more deeply wounded by his comments if you have not made peace with your dad.
While it is not possible to make your parents apologize and repent from their imperfections, it is still important for you to understand what makes you tick. We first learn how to look at the world through our relationship with our caregivers. Even if an outlook of ours on life is irrational, they are still a part of our core. When we look within ourselves and see areas that bother us about our relationship with our parents, we can attempt to resolve them; but, even if we never get resolution from our parents, we can still be aware of those sensitive spots in our heart so we don’t take out frustrations with our parents (or other significant people) on our spouses.
Let’s use the examples from above. If a man, after examining his relationship with his mother, realizes that he is still angry and hurt because his mom constantly broke her promises, he can lovingly confront her about these hurts. By exposing his anger gently and refusing to ignore the pain, he can be more aware of his tendency to react negatively to his wife’s broken promises. Now that he’s aware of this sensitive area, he can confront his wife kindly without jumping all over her. Before he did such self-reflecting, he may have responded to her broken promise with yelling, stonewalling, or, in some cases, violent anger. Now that he’s aware of this difficult area, he can have the presence of mind to calmly explain to his wife why, and how much, it upsets him when she doesn’t keep her word.
When she realizes that she has an area of sensitivity to a condescending tone, she can then recognize when those feelings rise up inside of her – and can calmly ask her husband to change his tone while gently explaining to him why it is so important to her that he do so. Proverbs 15:1 states, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” By preparing beforehand for your spouse’s occasional offenses towards you, you can be prepared to confront them kindly. But to prepare, you need to self-reflect and learn those buttons that can be pushed to make you explode. If you don’t confront your future spouse kindly, it will stir up anger in them – either outwardly or inwardly.
This is not to say that understanding and resolving your conflicts with your parents will lead to a stress-free marriage. There are no stress-free (healthy) marriages; but, understanding your inner workings can allow you to approach sensitive areas in your heart with grace instead of fury. Less yelling, stonewalling, and angry tears in your future marriage can mean more time for connecting, cuddling, and thriving.
Are there areas of hurt that set you off when someone does them?
Kevin Miller says
Great, great counsel here Eric Viets. I think understanding this would bring new light, necessary light, into most marriages.
Eric Viets says
Thank you, Kevin! My wife is brilliant! [smile] I do believe this issue has reared its head in our own marriage, so we're hoping that by discussing it, it will help couples to prepare to work though it easier when the emotions start flaring.