Down the Drain

Brad Says…

One of my least favorite chores is cleaning out the shower drain. That stinking ball of gray goo that clogs up the flow ever few months is not fun to remove. I hate it so much that often I’ll ignore the signs that it needs to be done.

The last few weeks the water was draining slower and slower. At first I just made believe that all our kids’ feet really needed the extra soaking. It’s good for them, am I right?

Eventually I started to notice that there was a ring of filth surrounding the tub every time one of the kids got out of the shower. Rather than the drain doing its work and removing the dirty water, it was holding it there; making an even bigger visible mess that everyone could now see.

As I finally decided to find the grabber tool thingy you need to clean out the gunk (what is that thing called anyway?) I recognized there is a marriage lesson in this huge ball of goo.Down the Drain

Clean Out the Drain

I hear from many men that they feel like their wife will get on them for everything. They “can’t do anything right”. Every conversation leaves them with a ring of dirt and filth around the drain.

Part of the problem here is that your marriage has become clogged.

Conflict is Normal

You see it is perfectly normal that you will have disagreements. It is normal that you might be 10 minutes late getting home from work, it is normal that you won’t say the right thing or notice the way you should really be helping with the kids or the dishes tonight.

It is also normal that your wife will get irritated at these things. It is normal that she gets frustrated.

On top of that it is normal that you wife may not want to spend time with you while you are watching your “shows”. Or that she spends more time checking on the kids then she does asking how your day was.

These are the normal things that can irritate a couple. They have elements of dirt and junk that might need to be refined. However they are normal. I don’t care how connected, how one flesh you are you will still have some of these conflicts.

End Your Conflicts

What is also normal is that your small conflicts get discussed and then go down the drain. They don’t stick around, they don’t muddy the waters. They happen, you discuss them and you move on.

All too often, the drain is clogged. If your tiny conflicts aren’t going away, if they are leaving a dirty ring around your everyday marriage then your drain is clogged.

When you don’t talk about and resolve these small conflicts they build up. Unless you pay attention to them soon, even small things catch and get added to the clog.

You need to resolve conflicts.

Don’t just walk away, don’t huff and puff demanding she is unreasonable. Use these 3 steps to try to find resolution.

3 Steps to Resolution

  1. Listen

When the conflict happens it is really easy to go find the nearest rock to hide under. Resist the urge to flee. Stop, and really listen. What is your wife saying? What is she really upset about?

  1. Understand

Once you have listened, before you go to solve the problem, you must first make sure that your wife feels heard. This is a very different goal then listening to her. Make it your goal that your wife feels like you have heard her.

Sometimes this takes asking questions. “Are you mostly upset because we both came home from a long day and I didn’t think about doing the dishes?” or “I hear that you feel frustrated because I told you I would be home at 5 and I didn’t come in till 5:30”.

  1. Agree on changes

Once you actually have succeeded in making your wife feel heard, you can then share your side, or even better yet share that 3 part plan that you have been coming up with in your head the whole time. Now she will be ready to listen to it.

Remember keep talking until you can agree on something different to unclog the drain. Don’t let it just build up.

Bonus:

Way too many couples never even get to the make-up sex! Once you get through the conflict you can spend time together!

Has conflict built up in your marriage? How are you working to clean out the drain? Let us know in the comments!

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5 Responses to Down the Drain

    • Also, while this post made a good metaphorical point about how to address things rather than hiding, it also reminded me that I need to clean the drain in the shower so my husband doesn’t have to. It’s the first time I’ve ever done it, so hooray.

  1. Not handling conflict well is a big reason that my marriage is a mess. When my husband and I experienced conflict I emotionally checked out and froze. I could not get past my fear. Now after 22 years of being together and 3 children, he wants out of the marriage. It’s been a year of threatening divorce or he insisting I leave our home. We are still in the home together, yet he has checked out as a husband. I have never felt so much pain.