This morning, on Today, I watched a segment exploring one key to the longevity of a marriage. In this story, the anchor shared that a recent study found that couples who regularly “complained” to one another tended to have longer marriages. Yeah. I’m thinking what you are probably thinking. The act of complaining does more to hurt a marriage than help it, right? Maybe not.
I’ll admit it. I just don’t like the word “complaining”. I kind of equate it with “nagging” or “whining”, which is pretty much awful and annoying. When I think about complaining, my brain instantly recalls Philippians 2:14, a verse that I recite to my kiddos almost daily,
“Do everything without complaining or arguing.”
So, when I heard the findings of this marriage study, I initially scoffed at the results.
How can “complaining” to your spouse be a good thing…especially when we are raising our kiddos to resist the practice? And, how can complaining not lead to arguing?
Well, I think I have more an issue with the word “complaining” than I do with what the results actually tell us about marriage.
The researchers use the word “complaining”, but I think the word “communicate” is a better word.
Couples who regularly communicate with each other…share their feelings…good AND bad…share their concerns…good AND bad…and talk about EVERYTHING…those are the couples that have lasting marriages.
We can’t let the sun go down without getting things off our chest…in a non-complaining, non-argumentative way. If we don’t like something our spouse did or said that day, we need to address it quickly and with love.
We are human beings…sometimes complicated human beings with complicated feelings, and the only way we can keep these feelings from ruling us is by taking charge of our feelings by expressing them in a healthy way.
We do this with frequent communication. We think about it, and then we talk about it. We don’t lash out. We don’t scream at each other.
We have a conversation. We talk.
We don’t let it linger inside of us before it eventually boils over and spews out all over our spouse.
A physical wound has to be cleaned and redressed regularly. If not, the wound can fester and get infected, causing worse damage. Our feelings are the same way, especially when it comes to our marriages. We must not let our hurt feelings fester and infect our hearts and eventually our marriages.
We must talk to our spouse DAILY. The good and the bad. All. Of. It.
When we regularly communicate with our spouse, our marriage will remain healthy, strong, and LASTING. And, that’s nothing to complain about.
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Also, feel free to check out this recent blog, “My husband doesn’t complete me, and I will tell you why.”, by clicking here.
For more on how to build a stronger marriage and how to communicate more effectively, please check out our book, “The Marriage Minute”, by clicking here.