How to Deal with and Avoid Family Crisis

Dugan Kelley, Shareholder

By Dugan P. Kelley

I was recently driving to my Dallas office on the Sam Rayburn Tollway when I looked across the passenger window and saw a very nice truck.  It looked like it was one of the newer models and I sped up a little in my lane so I could look at this truck outside the passenger window of my vehicle.  As I pulled up alongside of this truck, I was admiring it when suddenly its back tire blew out.  Bits and pieces of its tire flew all over the highway and several cars behind us had to swerve, drive over, or brake to avoid the flying debris that was generated from the blow-out of that tire. I instinctively said a prayer thanking the Lord that I wasn’t within the zone of debris as I could see several cars being hit with flying shards of the tire.

Family Crisis Can Happen In A Moment:

That tire blowing out near me reminded me of family law and how many times we don’t know what is going on within a marriage even when there is an ongoing family crisis.  Even though everything looks good from the outside, there can be stressors and the relationship may be on the breaking point. You might call that a terminal family crisis.

I am a Christian family lawyer and mediator. I sees marital and family crisis on a regular basis.  I am regularly reminded of the fragility of many relationships. I also am very aware of the constant need to tend to those relationships to avoid family crisis.  We desperately need to continue to press into the Lord to strengthen the marital relationships.  All of this helps us avoid family crisis.  The more I thought about that shredded tire on a vehicle that looked new, the more I felt the need to remember Biblical truths about the necessity of tending to your marriage before it gets to the point of marital and family crisis.

Tending To Marriage To Prevent Family Crisis:

The following are just a few points that I have observed over the years and how Biblical truths intersect with our natural understanding of the necessity of tending to marriage:

1) Marriage is a gift!  I know that I have been guilty of failing to remember that at the core of my marriage, I received a gift.  Proverbs 18:22 says “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.”  Remember, gifts are meant to be cherished and enjoyed.  We treat great gifts with special care in order to prevent anything damaging that gift.  How much more should be do the same to our marriages to prevent family crisis, divorce, or separation to occur;

2) Fight Fair! No marriage is perfect.  You will fight.  Resolve the fight.  Don’t dwell on the anger, bitterness, or resentment that can be created without resolving the fight.  Ephesians 4:26 says “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”  Try to resolve the disagreement before you go to sleep.  This will help avoid family crisis.

3)  Be kind in your speech with your spouse!  Words can be as punishing as physical in abuse in many situations.  How many times are we tempted to say that snarky remark or slight dig at your spouse.  Kindness and remembering to think before you speak will radically improve your marriage. Proverbs 15:23 says, “Giving the right answer at the right time makes everyone happy.”  A little thought before you speak will save you heartache in many situations with your spouse;

4) Confront any difficulties quickly, listen, and speak slowly without anger. Forgive as quickly!  Undoubtedly when marital crisis confronts you, you will have a choice.  You can stew on the conflict and leave it unresolved.  If you do so, the conflict will grow like a cancer in your marriage until it destroys it, OR you can choose the difficult course of confronting the crisis head-on (with kindness, openness, and self-control) and forgive your spouse quickly.  This will lead your spouse to believe that you can be trusted and you will not hold grudges.  This builds loyalty.  James 1:19 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”  If you can follow this principle, you will likely avoid marital crisis; and

5) Remember that you are selfish!  Put your spouse’s interests ahead of your own.  This sounds completely counter-intuitive in this culture of self-indulgence.  However, tending and maintaining your marriage requires you to sacrifice.  Sacrifice your selfish desires and see how much your marriage will improve and grow.  Philippians 2:3 says, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.

Marriage Is Hard Work:

Just like that tire blow-out, marital crisis can seem to come out of nowhere.  Paying attention to your marriage, tending to it, remembering to put your spouse’s interests ahead of your own, confronting directly any problems prior to going to sleep, and speaking kindly will help you avoid marital crisis.  If you find yourself in the middle of marital crisis and need assistance in navigating the crisis or mediating that crisis, call Kelley Clarke PC.  We can help you with your marital crisis, divorce, or custody matter in Denton, Collin, Tarrant, Dallas, Wise and other Texas counties.