Friday, 17 May 2013

Taboo Topics – Part II

Often couples have certain topics between them that arouse an emotional response that is so strong that over time the couple learns to steer clear of those topics as best they can.  In Part I these topics were referred to as the “Elephant in the room”.  It is as though there were an elephant sitting in your living room (which would be extremely hard to miss) yet you acted as though it were not there.

The example cited in Part I was a difference in preference as to how a couple’s children might be disciplined.  One parent might be a disciplinarian. They might believe in the old saying, “spare the rod and spoil the child”.  Perhaps their spouse had grown up in a very relaxed environment where children were given a fair amount of latitude to be children even if it meant exhibiting some behaviors that were not always the most appropriate.  This was not a topic the couple thought to discuss before marriage.  Now after eight years of marriage and two children this has become an issue between the parents.  Each gets frustrate with the other’s approach to discipline.

As stated in Part I this is not healthy for the couple’s marriage and can lead to longer term deterioration of their relationship, particularly depending on how many such issues exist between them.  But there is something even worse to consider if this is a Christian couple.  A Christian marriage is to glorify God.  Theoretically there should be no elephants in the room.  Most often the subject is taboo because each partner feels strongly about their position on the issue.  James 4:1-2 tells us that we quarrel because we don’t get our own way, which most likely contributes to the strong feelings.

The example shown in Part I dealt with a differing perspective on how to discipline a couple’s children.  One parent a strong disciplinarian the other not so much.  Their childhood experiences helped to formulate their approach. Ignoring the issue is seldom, if ever, the right approach.

Chip Ingram
An approach that could work for this couple would be to agree on one or two Christian authors who are recognized as experts in the field of child development ala Chip Ingram or Scott Turansky.  Buy one of their books or DVDs.  Sit and review the material together.  Determine which parts of their approach makes the most sense for you as a family. Whichever principles you agree upon be very consistent in how you apply them.  If there are points that you can’t agree upon seek additional help in terms of developing an alternative on which you both can agree.

This type of an approach can work for finances, sexual problems, addictions, etc.  Perhaps you can seek out mature Christian couples at church who have dealt effectively with the particular issue that is causing stress.  A Biblical counselor may be of some assistance.  The main point is do not just ignore the elephant.



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