If you have been in a relationship with another person for more than 5 minutes, you know what it is like to experience unpleasant emotions. Sometimes, it is the people closest to us who can raise our blood pressure the most. Why is it that messy counters, upturned toilet seats, failure to turn in homework, bad grades, empty gas tanks, and socks on the floor can get our day off to a rocky start? (Pro tip: If you must check grades, do not do so until after they have left for school and you have had coffee.)
Hopefully, your mornings are filled with more pleasant things like breakfast in bed and children who chirrup, “Good morning, Mommy, we just made our beds and took out the trash!”
If this is not the case, you have to be vigilant about what captures your attention and how you respond. Allowing your mind to wander the path of least resistance reinforces the negative. Our eyes are drawn to all of the offending things the other person does. Breathe, Pause, Refocus so that irritation does not escalate to anger, stew into bitterness, and morph into division.
Are you in the messy middle?
If you find you are on the wrong foot with someone you love, start here:
Remember you are an adult and part of your job is to reveal the heart of God to those around you. This is tricky when your buttons are being pushed. Breathe in the Holy Spirit and ask for what you need in the moment: Peace. Patience. Kindness. Understanding. He is the source, you do not have to bear this burden alone. Know before you interact what you need so you can pray before, during, and after.
Pray for the offending person. Pray that God will place blinders in front of what is not important and highlight what needs your attention. So often we are angry because we think the other person’s behavior is intentional and purposefully done as a negative reflection upon us.
We have to remember that our loved one’s actions do not alter our identity. Neither achievements nor accidents, great grades nor fantastic failures are an indication of whether you are safe and loved by God. Pray that the other person’s heart will be touched and they will trust your love so that you can get to the root of the problem.
Refocus your heart on gratitude.
There are so many things for which to be grateful, even if it is merely the fact that you are breathing. We miss out on much that is fabulous when we focus on the fatal flaws we pick in other’s characters. If you need help, ask a friend to pray for you.
So, if you are tempted to be angry with someone you love, Breathe, Pause, and Refocus. These three things will keep the line of communication open, which is vital if you are going to be the one they can count on when the real hard days arrive. Please, please, please, never be so angry that you can’t speak to or hug the person you love. They need you prayer warriors. Do not let division win.