Aleteia

How to nip recurring marital arguments in the bud

couple, arguing,
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It can be especially hard to avoid spats when confined together 24-7, but here’s a tip that can help…

“We’re tearing each other apart so much right now,” Audrey confided in me, “I have the feeling I’m destroying myself and don’t know anyway out.” Her husband agreed: “Each time, I feel completely devastated.” How can we regain that peace and joy of being together that we so wanted for one another, they both ask with worry.

For a couple to pick themselves up and dust themselves off after a double knock-out, they need to carefully examine the mechanism of their hurtful behavior and learn to nip these recurrent quarrels in the bud. For serenity to reign again, some deep personal reflection on both sides is called for.

The search for peace: A battle with oneself

Life’s worries give rise to a number of internal fears that get us worked up and make us aggressive, and even unfair and violent. They banish any inner peace we may once have had. Spiritual masters have pointed out different paths to a “state of being” that leads to peaceful relationships. How can we attain that peace? St. Francis de Sales invites us to humility, to trust in Providence, to avoid being hasty, to accept our faults (while still fighting against them!), and to accept without worry that we don’t always manage to maintain the peace.

That’s a tall order! For, paradoxically, it’s true: the spiritual life is as much a battle as a search for peace. First of all, it’s a battle with oneself: working out exactly what it is that upsets you (thoughts, emotions, fears), and also an awareness of those parts of my body that are tense, even tied in knots. Once identified, these things can be worked through and released. It’s then possible to rid oneself of this inner turmoil and regain a clear head. Relationships with others — and particularly one’s spouse — will benefit from this new-found peace. And then, “may the peace of Christ may rule in your hearts!” (see Col 3:15).

Marie-Noël Florant

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