"Bullseye - Positive Emotional Expression in Marriage" www.marriage101online.com
Summary: Tips for managing conflict without wounding your spouse
Strong hands pull back the bow, and release. An arrow slices through the air with stunning precision, and the arrowhead buries itself deep in its intended target. For an archer, the mark at the center of the tournament bullseye is cause for celebration; but imagine the chaos that would follow his demonstration of skill if he neglected to take careful aim!
In every marriage, arrows are bound to fly; but they don’t have to cause wounds. In this video, Dr. Gary and Barb Rosberg help you examine your emotional arsenal for the arrows of anger, and provide strategies for keeping conflict on target by focusing on the issue, not the person.
Dr. Gary and Barb Rosberg
Dr. Gary Rosberg: I want to talk about the issue of anger that a man carries. Wives, you’ve got to understand something about your husband – he was likely raised to not experience anger and to not express anger. I remember as a young boy living in Chicago, my older brother was swinging a baseball bat and he cracked me right upside the head. (It was a mistake – he said!). It opened my eyebrow and it started bleeding, and he said two things: don’t cry, and don’t tell Mom. So on my way in the house to tell my mom, because I had to go get some stitches, I learned Jack was essentially saying, “Gary, don’t experience pain, and certainly don’t express pain”.
And wives, you’ve got to understand something about your husband. He may have learned that emotions can’t be experienced. I can’t experience and express any kind of emotion. So sometimes what we, as men, do is we keep you - our wives - at bay. We self protect, and we hide behind the anger. Rather than showing fear, or insecurity, or frustration, or anxiety, or apprehension, or sadness, or hurt, or anything else, we put up that wall because we don’t know what to do with the anger.
Early in our marriage, Barb and I were having some conflict. And you remember this.
Barb Rosberg: Absolutely.
GR: We were sitting on a sofa in our house, and there was a pillow there. And I started to talk to you, Barb, and I remember I was making a lot of sense. I think I had just finished my doctoral program so I was kind of full of myself. And I was shooting arrows through your position on something, and I saw your countenance drop. And I remember thinking to myself, “Gary, you just did it again. You just wounded your wife. When am I going to stop and break this pattern?” So I picked up a pillow off the sofa and I remember I handed it to you, and I said, “Barb, just hold this in front of your heart. When I talk about these issues, these arrows are going right into your heart, and I don’t want to do that. If you’ll just hold it to the side so that when I talk about this issue – which I feel a lot of passion about – when I talk about it, what I want to do is separate the person from the behavior.” So I looked at that issue and I began to realize that in my strength, there are times when I wound you. In my strength sometimes I’m a brute rather than connecting to you and loving you well. And when we learned how to separate those two, it’s almost like we said, “Let’s partner together to talk about this issue to get to the other side.”
Emotions are strong. Emotions can be toxic. Emotions can be harming in a relationship if we don’t learn how to balance them in an encouraging way.
From “Marriage 101: Back to the Basics” series