As I write this article, I have just welcomed my husband back home from a year- long deployment in a war zone. It is never easy for our military personnel to be away from loved ones, and it is not easy for the loved ones at home, but the year made us stronger.
We now know one thing for sure: Even if war is breaking out around us, we have power to tap into a peace that transcends all understanding.
In each of our homes, we have the power to create love, joy and peace in a culture that is filled with selfishness, depression and strife.
Below are my Seven Keys to stop fighting and create a peace-filled relationship.
1. Pursue Inner Peace
Most of the time if we are stressed in our relationship, we are looking to the other person to somehow CHANGE in order for us to feel better. In fact, many of our goals look to an external circumstance to create for us an internal satisfaction. So we pursue that outer thing: money, a certain physique, or a partner that does _____________ (fill in the blank).
The problem is, external circumstances never bring lasting internal satisfaction. If we pursue inner peace instead of a change in our mate, we already come from a more empowered state.
2. Let Go of Things You Can’t Control
Trying to control another person’s behavior is an exercise in futility. The only person you can control in this world is yourself. Trying to control another will put you into a state of immediate chronic stress. This is the kind of stress that dumbs you down, wears you out, makes you sick and irritable and causes you to come from a negative state of mind. For Heaven’s sakes, let it go!
3. Realize that Peace is Always Available Everywhere Right Now
Ultimately, Inner Peace is not something we create – it is something we tune into. We don’t have to conjure it up or manufacture it. We can take a few deep breaths and tune in to a power that is higher than our own limited emotion. A peaceful home is not out of reach. A peaceful environment can breathe into and become an expression of a peaceful heart. Just knowing that peace is available is reassuring.
4. Slow Down
It’s no wonder that in our busy culture we live in constant anxiety. We are so often rushing here and there, out of tune with the moment and multi-tasking to somehow achieve that elusive external goal. For now, let’s slow down. Stop multi-tasking. Let go of the time scarcity. Enjoy the precious moment, and think about one way in which you would love to have this moment back at a future time.
Sometimes one of my sons finds himself absorbed in the moment- looking at the scenery and hearing the sounds of laughter and he’ll say out loud, “This is a perfect moment!” He usually notices this at fairly every day opportunities. I love that!
5. Acknowledge Any Distressing Emotion
Sometimes when we find ourselves angry and we slow down, all we notice is that we are still angry. That is okay! Your emotions are speaking for a reason. On some level your feelings are just trying to protect you. Instead of running from them – acknowledge your anxiety or anger and offer acceptance of yourself and those feelings.
6. Give Forgiveness
Most of the time when your mate is on your last nerve, he or she is not being difficult just to spite you. Most of us are truly doing the best we can with the tools we have, including that person you live with. After you’ve acknowledged your own emotions and offered self-acceptance, it’s easier to lend forgiveness to another.
Try closing your eyes and picturing that person in front of you in their own little hologram as you say, “I love you, I forgive you, and you deserve to be blessed.” (Hint, this will not feel true the first several times you say it!)
7. Expect Peace to Prevail
Most of the time in life, we don’t get what we deserve; we get what we expect. If we expect people around us to be irritable and hostile, they usually will be. But if we expect them to respond to our love, to feel safe in our presence and to be pleasant, they will usually conform to those peace-loving thoughts.
When you feel a conflict coming on, expect it to be resolved in a way that makes you stronger as a couple. Where there is a will and an expectation for good – there is always a way.
I hope these tips help you keep centered for a more peaceful marriage. No matter what conflict you face, remember that peaceful resolution begins from within.