Ever been caught unexpectedly in a severe storm? There aren’t many things more terrifying. What’s worse is when it hits your home, your sanctuary suffers as a result. Forbes recently published a list of some of the worst ever to hit the United States, and seeing what people have had to go through is jaw-dropping.
During a storm, it’s essential to take precautions. Get caught in the elements, and you’ll put yourself, and possibly others, at risk. Without proper cover throughout the storm, you’re unnecessarily putting yourself at a considerable disadvantage.
Don’t make this mistake in your marriage, either. Sometimes when your spouse is going through a storm, it’s tempting to want to swoop in and fix things. The phrase, “I’m not asking you to fix it,” has almost become a cliche.
It makes a lot of sense, though, when you begin to compare what happens during an actual storm to the emotional squalls you may endure with your spouse. After all, how helpful is it to start cleaning up debris in the yard while the storm’s still raging? That’s not useful—or safe.
Here are four reminders that’ll end up protecting you and your spouse when they’re dealing with the whirlwinds of life.
Don’t Diagnose While the Storm is Still Raging
When there’s a tornado bearing down on you, it’s not that helpful to say, “I think the instability in the atmosphere caused by the intersection of cold and warm air and interacting with crosswinds is creating a vortex.”
Save the technical analysis.
When your spouse is right in the middle of a tough time, all they want to do is see it through until things smooth out. It’s not helpful when tensions are high to point out what is causing the problem—especially when nobody asked you. Wait until the rough seas smooth before you start investigating origins.
Don’t Provide Solutions
Similarly, it’s not helpful to unfold a three-step path to higher ground when your spouse is sinking. Imagine you’ve stepped in quicksand and someone says, “you know, if you reach over and break off that vine, fashion a lasso, and hook that branch, you should be able to pull yourself to safety.”
That sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it? That’s what’s happening when you try to solve your spouse’s problems when they’re right in the middle of them. Instead, what they need is a hand to grab hold of so they don’t go under for good.
Do what’s practical and take care of what’s right in front of you until things are more stabilized and clear visibility is more likely. Then you can solve problems.
What are the practical things, you ask?
Listen Without Judgment
It’s one thing to offer a listening ear. It’s another to give full attention to your spouse with an attitude of understanding. If you find your eyes rolling back into your head when your spouse is explaining their dilemma or a heavy sigh escaping your lips, this may be something you need to work on.
Sympathize Without Making it About You
Another common struggle that keeps spouses from being truly supportive is the whole “well, you think that’s bad—listen to this” spirit of competition that can creep into our relationships. If the storm hanging over your spouse is heavy, they don’t need to know how hard it’s hitting you; they’d be better off if you simply hold an umbrella.
If you can’t resist the urge to clean up in the middle of the storm, you’re spinning your wheels. Most likely, you’ll just have to start at the beginning when the storm has passed.
Why don’t you save that energy and hunker down together? Let the storm pass and start cleaning up when the air is calm, the coast is clear, and a new day has dawned.
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