I am in it ALONE – One Sided P.R.A.Y. for couples in challenging times.
This post is part of a series on resolving conflict. It is of course recommended that you read all parts of the series. Here are the posts you might want to catch up on if you have not already:
- Resolving Conflict with P.R.A.Y. – Part 1 – The Importance of Good Communication Habits.
- Resolving Conflict with P.R.A.Y. – Part 2 – TIME OUT’s Are Not Just for Kids.
- Resolving Conflict with P.R.A.Y. – Part 3 – Feelings are not just for sissy’s!
- Resolving Conflict with P.R.A.Y. – Part 4 – Take Time to Reconnect!
- Resolving Conflict with P.R.A.Y. – Part 5 – It’s my turn!
What do we do when one spouse is not interested in participating in P.R.A.Y.?
Being a servant spouse in challenging times might require that you follow the steps of P.R.A.Y. in a different way. It may be unrealistic to expect that P.R.A.Y. would come easy as a couple, especially if our conflict resolution practices (or lack thereof) are heavily engrained or dysfunctional (leaving one or both spouses dissatisfied). Don’t they say that it takes at least 21 days to break a habit? So, is it realistic to think we can change our conflict resolution habits in 1 or 2 tries?
Can I still use P.R.A.Y. if my spouse is unwilling to do so? Yes, you can use a modified version of P.R.A.Y.
P – Part Ways – TIME OUT. Take a time out even if you are the only one that does. Take this time to journal, reflect, and pray about the situation.
R – Reconnect with your spouse. Normally this step requires two people, but if you are following P.R.A.Y. independently you might need to get creative. Instead of participating in a two way dialog choose to do a servant activity for your spouse that expresses your desire to make them happy.
A – Apologize for hurt feelings or wrong doing. This step remains the same as in regular P.R.A.Y. Evaluate the situation and decide what you could have done better and say I AM SORRY.
Y – Yes Me – Yes, it is me that needs to make an effort. It is very difficult to want to make any sort of effort when you feel as though you are the only one trying. Giving 110% when it seems the other is not giving at all seems impossible and possibly flat out wrong. Choose to give anyway!! Decide what effort you can make to improve the situation. Ask yourself…would God be happy with the effort I am putting toward solving this conflict? Avoid the dangerous spousal evaluation or score keeping; it will only make you miserable and drive you further from your spouse.
Is all of this effort worth it? Will anything ever change? Being a Servant Spouse and including God as the 3rd person in your marriage requires that you give even when your spouse is not. God will reward your perseverance and faithfulness and some day you will see your selfless efforts pay off.
For a long time I was the only one putting effort toward our marriage. Most days I felt like I was drowning and that my husband was the one holding me under. Making my husband a priority especially when he was treating me so terribly was not something I wanted to do, but I decided that giving up on my marriage and my husband was not an option. I knew that I could not force my husband to change; I could only change myself. Learning to give to my husband even when he was terrible to me was something that most people do not understand. Some people would even say it was very ignorant and the act of someone with low self esteem. Why on earth would you continue to pour love and effort toward a man that was treating you so terrible? In reality it was not ignorant, it was brave and courageous. It was not my bravery or courage – it was the bravery and courage of Christ that I drew on every day to help me persevere even when I did not want to. It took several years, but eventually God did deliver my husband to me in a new package. He was no longer the man I married, or the one that was so terrible to me; God delivered a man to me that was new. A man that is loving, kind, passionate, caring, virtuous, and strong. Is my husband really a new man? or do I now see him through the eyes of Christ instead of the world? Either way, I am so thankful for the husband I have today and I am so glad I chose to trust God in our marriage instead of giving up on what seemed to be a lost cause. You can read more about how God saved our married if you read the posts under the category ONE FOOT OUT THE DOOR – CRISIS.
Suggested Action: If your spouse is not on board with the process of P.R.A.Y. Commit to the One-Sided P.R.A.Y. process for 30 days: 1) try the suggestions above for One-Sided P.R.A.Y. instead of throwing in the towel or giving up, 2) keep your journal as suggested in One Sided P – Part Ways – TIME OUT and 3) say the suggested prayer below daily. In 30 days look at your journal and see if you can identify any changes in your relationship with your spouse. I think you will be surprised!
Suggested Prayers by Melissa B (select the one that best fits your situation):
Heavenly Father, in the beginning, you yourself instituted the sacrament of marriage. Bless _________ in her/his role as my wife/husband. Grant her/him the grace to persevere in love for me. Help me to be the support she/he needs today and always, so that she/he may see Heaven. May my eyes see her/him as you see her/him and may I look past her/his failings to see her/him as your child and my life partner? May we as a married couple choose you as the foundation of our marital love, and may you strengthen our marriage to withstand all types of suffering. Grant that I may die of myself and trust in your divine plan for our marriage. Help us to be truly one, as you designed. This I pray, in your Holy and Precious name. Amen.
Dear Lord, my God, creator and ruler of the universe. It is you that created me with all of my strengths and weaknesses. You know best the virtues that I struggle with. Help me to grow in virtue so that I can be a better spouse. Help me to suffer well and to carry the cross of my difficult marriage. Help me to react and engage with my spouse using your words and actions instead of my own. Bless and protect our marriage vows, especially during this trying time. Aid me in focusing on you and your will instead of the worldly views that tempt me every day. Today Lord, I am giving in so that you can deliver us from horrible to wonderful, in your time and in your way. By and through your grace I pray! Amen!