So I have a question for you to think about. And that is, how long does it take you and your wife to recover from a fight? Your typical conflict or fight where you disagreed, you both got angry, how long do you stew? That’s a really, really important thing to think about, and to figure out how do you shrink the amount of time you spend stewing after a conflict. And this is really, I’ve noticed in a lot of marriages, this can be really tough the first five, 10 years.
But when you start to figure this out, and you start to figure out the patterns that help you recover, and you start to recover much more quickly, it has a really dramatic impact on your family, on your parenting, on your ability to really get back into the game as a dad and as a mom. And there’s some … This really came to mind when I was reading from a psychologist, David Loudon, he’s got a PhD in psychology and he said, “There are couples that fight frequently and vigorously, only to fall in love all over again, after the storm has passed. And then there are couples that maintain a cold war state, no open hostilities, but lingering resentment, and no progress toward resolving the issues.”
And then he cited a study where they said, “The findings in this study, corroborate extensive research showing that, actively repairing the relationship through expressions of affection, can not only bring the partners back to their pre conflict feelings for one another, it can also push the relationship to a higher level of intimacy. Likewise, avoidance strategies, generally lead to negative outcomes.” And so it’s really important to study the pattern of your conflicts with your wife, exactly how you guys recover, who starts to really show feelings of affection and intimacy, and how long you’re staying in those cold war sort of stances with each other.
It’s really hard to raise and lead a family team, when mom and dad are in a cold war stance. So we’ve got to figure out, how do we create or change patterns that cause those times to linger? And if you can get those, I have friends who said, “Yeah for the first five years of our marriage, it was sort of like, about a five day cycle of just resentment, anger, stewing, and now we’re down to about an hour.”
And I’m like, that is awesome. The world of difference between five days and an hour. And I think it’s really, it’s an interesting little metric to really ask yourself, and what can you do to shrink that amount of time. But yeah Jeff, have you and Alyssa thought through this one?
Yeah I mean two things, it’s two things I think of. The first one is like, it’s just pure math, right? Like if you’re spending five days trying to recover from every argument, which me and Alyssa have those four times a week, then it’s like, that’s going to like, over 30, 40 years, that’s going to be so much drag time on your marriage and your family. So that’s why it’s so important, as you’re playing the long game, and so then just do the math of how much you’ll actually be in that recovery mode over the long haul, that you don’t want to be, or in like resentment mode or whatever.
And then two, I think it’s just biblical, right? Like keeping short accounts is like, there’s, you can call it your personality, and I do think there’s a personality thing of like, yeah, do you need some time to process, or do you need some space on some of that stuff. But past that, it’s like, it’s a command to just forgive quickly, forgive and understand, and lean in, and have short accounts. Now of course, once a real big pattern emerges, or if there’s any patterns that start to become kind of really toxic, I guess, to each other, then that’s when you got to go to counseling, you got to find professional help.
You got to break the cycle of the more toxic things. But if it’s a little bit more of the, I don’t know how to say it, not as intense, just a abrasive personality differences that just make you have conflict, you got to just have that spirit of the Lord that’s like, man, and ask Him for help to forgive because He’s forgiven us much, and with that, you can forgive much and … Or you can reconcile or you can renew. And so I think, and when you do that, you start to see the fruit of that of like, like you said, learning a game plan and actually doing it.
Because I think a lot of us, even though we still fight so much, once it happens, we get surprised, you know what I mean? Or just like, I don’t know, just kind of all rules go out the window, rather than kind of having almost like a game plan for conflict. Like, this is the four steps we’re going to take. Okay maybe we did that wrong, that got us angry, so then we’re going to … You need space, I need to calm down, so now we’ll separate for just a few minutes or a few hours or whatever, come back together, this is how we’re going to talk through it. We’re going to set aside a day later this night, later this week where we can maybe talk through it, in a more peaceful kind of like objective way, and yeah.
And I think having a game plan is really important. So guys, definitely be thinking on that, and start living in that.