Tears to Joy

Tears to Joy: December 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Final Horseman

A sure-fire way to hurt your marriage is to engage in stonewalling. This is the final horseman that Gottman uses as a predictor for divorce.  Stonewalling is when we build a wall and refuse to let others inside. We often do this by making comments such as “I don’t want to talk about it; Enough,” or “End of story.”  When we cut others off and refuse to continue communicating on a topic, men tend to feel frustrated, but women often feel shafted and hurt. Women feel isolated and intimacy is killed. 

We also stonewall with our actions when we give our spouse the cold shoulder. Sometimes we do this as a means of self-protection without realizing the hurt it causes the relationship. We are afraid of what the other person will say to us so we stonewall to guard against painful comments or ridicule.  While we might avoid hearing hurtful words, we also avoid resolution. When conflict is unresolved, it tends to stew and snowball. 

When I think of stonewalling, I imagine a people that are being pursued by their enemy. They wall themselves into a fort for protection. For a while it seems to work, but when the enemy fails to retreat, the people begin to suffer within.  Supplies run low…food is scarce…sickness and death are rampant.  In order to survive, the people must get beyond the walls they created.

The same is true in marriage. When we stonewall, we may have momentary relief, but we slowly begin to feel isolated and inadequate. Our love tank begins to run dry and the relationship suffers.

Instead of stockpiling our arsons or stonewalling for protection, we need to remember that our spouse is NOT the enemy.  We have a very real enemy who seeks to kill, steal and destroy our marriages, and we need to daily put on the belt of truth and grab the sword of the Spirit and prepare for battle. 

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