Cycle of Unresolved Issues

Written by M. Woodard

Wednesday October 3, 2012

The cycle goes something like this: a problem surfaces in your relationship, and one of you says, “We have a problem…” but the other person does not take it seriously so the problem is not really addressed. This happens again, then again and again! Despair takes over. One day the one that has been saying, “I need help” gives up and says, “We’re done!” or leaves a note that says, “I’m gone!” This finally gets the other person’s attention, but it may be too late.

“What will it take to get your attention?” In the book The Meaning of Marriage, authors Tim and Kathy Keller relate how Kathy got Tim’s attention by lining up some of her good china, and as soon as Tim walked in the door, breaking it with a hammer. She got his attention! Some other less dramatic ways could be to say…

I’m starting to feel so discouraged, that unless we address this issue, I don’t think I can continue like this.

I feel really alone. I don’t want to go on like this.

I have this feeling that we are drifting apart. I do not want to live this way.

Action   Discuss together:

Are there unaddressed issues that could sink our relationship?

Are there unhelpful habits we have developed in our relationship by ignoring or not listening to each other?

What is the best way to get our attention focused on an issue that is crucial to me?

Suggested Resource The Meaning of Marriage by Tim and Kathy Keller

8 Responses to “Cycle of Unresolved Issues”

  • […] this as an ultimatum, but most often it is framed this way.  Another FamilyLife article titled Cycle of Unresolved Issues offers an example from Rainey favorites Tim and Kathy […]

  • Sharon says:

    good article thank you for posting this

  • Apollyon says:

    The wife is using violence (indirect) to get her way. She has an anger problem and the husband would be better off taking the children away from an abusive wife.

  • Alfred says:

    We are created with the ability to think and to choose. Yet, in spite of that, God wants us to ask Him for advice and for wisdom. I think we all, naturally, try to go as far as we can on our own, and too often spoil relationships! That brings me to the point that without God’s help we will never get unresolved issues properly dealt with. The first step, I would suggest, is to ask Him for forgiveness and for advice on how to proceed. Secondly, with love and feelings of understanding, pray for your partner. It may even be possible to see the issue from the other’s point of view, thereby attacking it together rather than opposing one another. If your situation is desperate enough it may be your God-given opportunity to ask Him to show you which way to turn, give it all to God, and let Him lead you (both) to a understanding and appreciation of one another. Blessings.

  • […] The wake-up call sin from the wife can take many forms, but the sin is always designed to cause the husband discomfort and very typically it is something which directly or indirectly threatens to destroy the family.  FamilyLife describes how this works in Cycle of Unresolved Issues: […]

  • Sharon says:

    good article

  • […] article he doesn’t describe teaching his daughter how to give her husband a wakeup call by throwing crazed fits or packing up the car and threatening to break up the family.  For a wedding gift he doesn’t […]

  • Shelley says:

    Dear Father God.

    Lord i lift up anyone who is struggling with issues in marriage that they will seek Your grace and that they can lean on You for help in marriage. In Jesus name Amen

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