A Christian man that I work with, Eric, knows that I blog here and wanted to share with you, as a married man, the 5 things he thinks a couple should talk about before they get married. These aren’t theological issues – which are important, but these are the practical, day-in-day-out issues that really affect a marriage. Since his list is so great and each item is worthy of discussions, I’ve seperated them into 5 different posts. For the most part, I’ve left them exactly as he wrote them.
Some of these you might talk about in pre-marriage counseling. Some of these you might just naturally talk about (or experience) in your dating days as you get to know one another. There isn’t an option to not talk about or experience these things. You will have to eventually. The question is one of timing: do you want to deal with them before marriage or after marriage, where the risk of hurt and pain is much greater?
Who is passive and who is aggressive? This issue comes up a lot. I am passive, and my wife is aggressive. That means that generally, I want her to slow down/back off, and she wants me to speed up/turn it on. I am slow when it comes to making decisions, she usually has a decision made before the question is done being asked.
She generally has a strong opinion, and I generally have no opinion (or at least I don’t express it) and/or defer to her opinion (think “What would you like to eat?”). In conflict, she gets wound up, I tend to calm down, which further winds her up and further calms me down, etc. Which meant that in the beginning, she needed to back down and I needed to get a backbone.
Hopefully that helps illustrate the picture for you. You can imagine that having 2 passives or 2 aggressives also creates some unique circumstances as well…
My marriage sounds like Eric’s! For the most part, Jeff’s more go-with-the-flow especially when he doesn’t have a solution in mind. Me? Not so much. If I’m the one bringing up an idea, I have a solution in mind – most of the time, anyway. So, I get impatient just waiting for Jeff to agree with me, when he’s had 5 seconds to think about it and I’ve had a couple of days. I gotta slow down. Sometimes, he agrees with my assessment. Sometimes, he comes up with a better plan. But either way, I want US to make a decision, not just ME.
How have you seen this play out in different relationships? Are you passive? Are you aggressive? How do you plan to manage that in future relationships?