I opened my smartphone today to news we are on the verge of a government shutdown in the United States. It’s been heavy news over the past few days and weeks, and today is the day. If our elected officials do not agree by midnight tonight, the government will stop providing all but “essential” services.
Government shutdown vs the relationship shutdown
That sounds pretty crazy, doesn’t it? We can’t agree on how to do things, so we just shut all things down. One party won’t budge on its stance, and the other won’t budge on their stance. We can’t agree, so we quit! It doesn’t matter that millions of people are affected, I’m taking my ball and going home.
Wait, as I think about it, this sounds like many relationships today. According to statistics, about 50% of marriages fail. Irreconcilable differences is one of the reasons cited. So the husband wants things done a certain way, and the wife wants them another. Instead of finding a way to work it out, the choice is a relationship shutdown!
On the verge of a relationship shutdown
Maybe you haven’t looked at the government shutdown in those terms. But it might seem eerily familiar when you do. You and your spouse can’t seem to agree on the simplest things, let alone the big things. You are on the verge of a relationship shutdown.
Is it the best choice to just shut it down? Or should you work to prevent a shutdown? I don’t think our elected officials want a government shutdown. Well, maybe some of them do. But for those who don’t, what can be done? More importantly, what can be done to prevent your relationship from shutting down?
Avoiding a relationship shutdown
What can be done to keep your marriage together? To prevent any kind of shutdown, be it separation, affairs, or even divorce. Below are 5 ways you can avoid a relationship shutdown.
- Communicate frequently. One of the first steps to a shutdown is a lack of communication with one another. Many times, communication is happening but it is with someone else or even yourself. Thoughts and emotions run wild, and questions go unanswered or answered by the wrong person. Communicate with your spouse even when it is hard.
- Tune out negative influences. While some friends and some people may have good counsel and good help, there are some influences that can speed up the process of a relationship shutdown. Even the media and TV. If the influence is not encouraging your marriage to stay together, then maybe you need to shut that down, not the marriage.
- Tune in positive influences. Do you know other couples who have made it through a possible relationship meltdown? What about counseling, or just information that encourages strong marriages, restoring broken marriages, and commitment to marriage.
- Eliminate a relationship shutdown as an option. Have you ever been in a situation with limited options? Or been faced with a deadline? When you know the only option to get something done is “A,” then you find a way. The same with a deadline. The project you put off until the 11th hour miraculously gets done. Eliminate the option of a shutdow, and make a successful relationship your only option. See how that changes things.
- Sacrifice something. The issue with the government shutdown is both sides want what they want. They want their way. If a relationship is going to work, somebody at some point will have to sacrifice something they want. I remember playing basketball as a young kid, and there was always a kid that would take his ball and go home if he didn’t get the ball or have his way. That won’t work in marriage.
- Make pleasing your spouse more important than being pleased. Adding to the sacrificing in marriage, you need to take it a step further. Just imagine a relationship where you are competing to please your spouse. Both your needs will constantly be met, and you’ll continually be encouraged to please your spouse. No way you want to shut that down!
So, what do you think, will a government shutdown be avoided? What about a relationship shutdown for you?
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