Couples come to me regularly to discuss issues where they don’t see eye to eye — their finances or children or, you name it. Yuck! All of us can relate to that, right? It’s all too common for us to not see situations in the same light. Our heart on that matter is not the same. We have different movies playing in our heads. We all make meaning according to our own personality and our own circumstances we have been through.
Examples of the Heart of the Matter
The wife says to her husband that he spends money too frivolously, and their conflict was dragging on because he insisted that he had a cushy job and that she needed to quit nagging and being controlling.
A man says to his wife that she is being too easy on the kids, giving them too many opportunities, free time and expensive things.
After diving deeper, it doesn’t take long to realize finances, or the children weren’t their issues. The heart of the matter was, well, the HEART.
Let me explain what I mean by that. Years earlier at the beginning of the marriage, the husband didn’t have that cushy job. They had struggled to buy food and pay the house note. Taking the kids to the Doctor when they were sick wasn’t an option. This couple had to downsize before they actually lost their house. Naturally, her heart was skipping a few beats at the thought of going back to that, and those fears caused her to nag and want to take control. In turn, the husband’s heart was screaming that everything was okay. He had the cushy job, and her not trusting him made him feel like nothing he could do was ever good enough to make her happy.
Another Heart Example
The next scenario is much the same. Two brothers grow up where everything is just handed them. As we say, the proverbial “silver spoon.” One brother lives the high life, getting into drugs and squanders all his parent’s inheritance. The second brother can’t bear to think of his kids growing up to be irresponsible, entitled and maybe ruin their lives like his brother. So, he demands that his kids scrimp and save for every little thing. They have to use allowance or after school job money to buy anything outside of the essentials. The heart of the demanding father is trying to shape the future of his children.
HEART: Are you listening to your spouse’s?
The heart is at the center of everything we do, and it’s the way God sees us, too. So, if God sees us this way, then that should be the model for how we do things as a married couple. If we are going to feel safe and connected in our marriage, we need to start with the heart.
Issues of not looking at your spouse’s Heart!
The problem is that when couples get into conflict — whether it be about finances, their children, or even whose turn it is to do the darn laundry — they don’t see each other at the heart level. They don’t look at what’s deeper, which can lead to:
- Feelings that we are unloved
The condition of our hearts will determine the quality of our life together. Be careful and gentle because the heart is easily hurt — just like the couple above. After this couple talks, they understand what’s really happening. They weren’t listening to each other’s hearts, and they weren’t treating them as valuable. They weren’t seeing what their position was underneath and why this was so important to them.
If we start with a soft heart toward our spouse, we will inevitably and naturally show more:
- Love toward our spouse
What we are saying is that relationships can feel unsafe for all sorts of reasons. And when that happens, we naturally protect ourselves by shutting down and closing our hearts and spirits. To combat this, we can’t just look at what’s on the surface of whatever is going on in our relationship. All that stuff is simply what’s happening or what is being said. We need to start with the heart and look deeper — because there’s always more going on underneath.
Our heart is devoted to caring about people and marriages!
Our heart is devoted to caring about people. We want to ensure you have the tools to cherish each other’s heart and listen to it when it’s talking to you. The best way we know how to do that is by spreading the word to more people and let them know that we are here.
What do you think? Did we leave anything out? What are a few ways you listen to your spouse’s heart? Please send us a quick email and help us keep this conversation going.