You are probably aware of long and short term consequences. When you eat a cupcake in the short term you get pleasure in the moment, but in long term gain unwanted weight or get a sugar headache. Perhaps you do not like those results. Perhaps what you really want is a healthy body and the short term pleasure prevents what you from getting what you really want (a healthy body).
This happens in our mixed faith marriages too. We indulge in short term pleasure and disregard the long term consequences. Just like with a cupcake when we do this we rob ourselves of what we REALLY want.
Short term pleasures in our marriage usually looks like indulging in defensiveness or angry outbursts because you feel justified. There are probably lots of things to justify your anger and frustration. It can feel good to “let it rip” and yell and be angry or tell them off. Acting on our anger can be a dopamine hit just like the sugar rush from the cupcake. BUT does it provide what you REALLY want for your relationship.
Side Note: Anger is not in and of itself a problem – it is another human emotion and acceptable. We all experience anger. Acting reactively out of our anger can often be a problem.
What if instead of saying snarky things, withdrawing or getting passive aggressive what if we listen and/or show compassion? What might be the long term consequences of that behavior?
Let me give an example:
Your partner wants to show you a Instagram post about something they feel strongly about. You are not so interested. For the believing spouse maybe its a post about reading and praying more, for non believing spouse maybe its a quote about a historical discrepancy.
You have a choice here. You can have your justification cupcake and let them know just how annoying that behavior is or you can listen (really listen and try to understand them – not talking about agreeing with them or pretending to listen or mentally rolling your eyes).
What are the consequences of those choices? What one will really create the marriage and relationship you want?
We know too many cupcakes are a problem, so to is too much mental eye rolling. We seek the short term gain of venting our frustration and forget the longer term benefit of genuinely listening and seeking to understand.
Is is time to get some help and learn what keeping you from choosing to listen and understand? Does it feel like the defensiveness just comes out without any control? I help my clients become emotionally responsible so they don’t find themselves in outbursts but can choose to show up as they truly want in their marriage.
Talk to you soon,
Brooke Booth, JD
Certified Life Coach