featured image

Elayne Grossmith offers five tips for resolving tension in your marriage.

"You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." (Matthew 22:37)


When I was young, I remember thinking what a cinch it would be to keep that first and greatest commandment. How could you not love God, Who is all-giving and all-forgiving, right?

Then there's the second commandment.

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:39)


Now, that one could be a bit more challenging. You probably agree that it's easier to follow that directive with some of your more distant relationships, like with the neighbor down the street who waves to you each morning. Or the cheerful and accomodating grocery clerk and the bagger who handles your groceries ever so carefully and carries them to your car. You're all smiles and feeling the love. And there's your sweet grandfather, who always has a smile, a hug, and something nice to say to you. Who wouldn't just love him to pieces!

Then, there's the outstanding person you married. From the time you stood at the altar, you just knew you'd love your partner forever. He was kind and caring and could anticipate your every wish no matter what was going on with him. You were confident that he'd be there for you whenever you needed him. It was going to be grand!


couple in wedding attire walking through orchard


You worked and saved for the downpayment on a home. Then, you were thrilled to be pregnant with your first child, an incredible little bundle of joy. Talk about feeling the love—this child was the ultimate; it just couldn't get any better. In no time, you were welcoming the second and third child, awesome healthy gifts from God.

But over time, things changed. You continued working at the same career, but it had lost its luster. You were working hard at it, and then there was all the work at home and, you were stressed and often felt like you were going to explode. Then one day, it happened.

You were preparing dinner while keeping an eye on the children playing in the family room with the dog by their side. Your partner was in the family room watching a football game and discussing it on the phone with his friend. While you were mashing potatoes, the doorbell rang, the kids started fighting and throwing things, and the dog barked incessantly. Meanwhile, the man of your dreams continued his chat while watching the game. You asked him to answer the door, and he didn't move. You hopelessly walked towards the door and shook your head in disgust. The kids started hanging on you while screaming at each other; the dog's barking intensified as he jumped on the kids, knocked over a table, and broke a vase. Mr. Wonderful glanced over when he heard the crash but continued watching the game. You race back to the kitchen to find the mashed potatoes have burned. That's it; you've reached your limit!

Now, let's pause the video.

You're furious on a lot of different levels. But, what are you going to do? Let's review your choices.

Scenario 1: Kick in the TV screen and have a good cry!

Scenario 2: Send the kids to bed, the dog to the rescue shelter, and your partner to the dog house.

Scenario 3: Get into a shouting match with your partner.

Scenario 4: Repeat, "It is good sense to be slow to anger and an honor to overlook an offense," Proverb 19:11. Repeat this as many times as needed until you stop seeing "red."

It's natural to want to proceed with Scenarios 1, 2, and 3 immediately! But incidents like these create hostility between partners that can persist and damage the love you have for each other. You want to solve the issue in a way that enables you to maintain your love for each other.

You don't want to use Scenario 3 because it promotes more anger, even if justified. Anger produces nasty arguments, which are destructive to a relationship. Partners inadvertently destroy each other in an argument because they're trying to defend themselves. You want a cool head to generate solutions to the problem, to prevent a repeat incident.

Click to tweet:
You want to solve the issue in a way that enables you to maintain your love for each other. #catholicmom

You can improve your overall situation by easing the inherent tensions in your relationship.

  1. Be good to yourself. Make a list of tasks that are expendable in your schedule. What can you skip or modify when you feel stressed and not destroy your household? Use the time you saved for a short nap, a hot soaking bath, or something else that relaxes you.
  1. Don't ruminate. Thinking about things over and over can cause you to become more stressed. It can become unrecognizable from the original event.
  1. Start a journal. Record every adverse event using a computer or a notebook. Journaling helps unload the details of an event, frees your mind, and prevents stress from building. It's economical and efficient because you're not carrying around all the extra "stuff."
  1. Create a plan. Make notes in your journal if you need your partner to do something differently. Be concrete and specific about what you need. What action do you want him to take, and why do you want it?
  1. Discuss your plan. Discussions with your partner will be more productive if you're relaxed and have no interruptions from children.


parents playing with small child

Copyright 2022 Elayne Grossmith
Images: Canva Pro