Some get a warning that softens the blow. Well, softens it a little. Maybe.
Others get an unexpected hit right between the eyes.
Either way, you have to respond. When the blow knocks you down, you can’t stay down. You have to get up and move. Move this way.
Get on this as a team.
God’s first words about family about leaving and cleaving are not just about cutting the umbilical cord. They are about tightly tying the cords around both of you. Cleave to each other. That mean, as you stick it out, stick to each other! Be united! So when Jesus repeated those words centuries later, he added, “Therefore what God has joined, let no one (or nothing) separate.” The text doesn’t say “or nothing” but it means it. You are in this together so:
- Talk like it. Use language like we and us; not I and me.
- Plan what you will do together to pursue the “next” and overcome the obstacles.
- Support each other. Two are better than one! (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
Attach the issue, not the person.
There will be plenty of frustrating, and perhaps, frightening moments ahead. Do not attack each other. Write the problem on a post-it note and express all of your anger, irritation, and frustration at the problem on the paper. This gives you an opportunity to yell, if you are a yeller, and your spouse can join in the emotion with you because it is directed at the problem, not at him or her.
The emotional hits, the financial struggles, deflating letters from the former employer and from potential ones that don’t work out, are often devastating to a relationship. That devastation only happens, though, when the husband and wife act in unkind, unholy ways toward each other. Plenty of marriages have survived and even grown though a layoff season because they fought with each other instead of against each other.
Commit to Dreaming and Avoid Panicking
Panic isn’t pretty. So don’t do it.
Breathe – that’s always important, but especially when you have to have very clear thinking.
While you’re thinking don’t think same-ole, same-ole.
In 2007, JeannaLynn was the lead nurse for a Women’s Health doctor. She had led in the establishment and growth of the practice and was very successful. The doctor hired a new staffer on a Thursday and told JeannaLynn that because of her excellent work, she was going to pursue covering her portion of our private health insurance. On Friday, out of the blue, the doctor called JeannaLynn and told her that she was shutting down her office and that JeannaLynn could pick up her belongings the following Monday – they were already packed up.
We were shocked! Then we were confused. Then we were mad!
Then, we got to praying, breathing, considering, listening and coming together.
We thought about what was good or our marriage. We thought about how God was moving around us. We thought about our life purpose statements and our purpose as a couple. We thought about the passions and gifts that God had placed in us.
Now, because we were forced to reconsider our path due to the surprising closing of a door we ultimately began a non-profit Marriage Mission that has been effectively moving couples from bad to good, good to great and great to service for 6 years.
We are a real couple with a real passion for real marriages.
And we discovered it because JeannaLynn was laid off.
Use the IRA Goal Model (Interest, Results, Action Plan)
I – When considering an idea, dream, or goal, ask yourself first, “What’s my Interest on a 1-10 scale.”
R – Then consider the Results of accomplishing the goal. Consider both pros and cons. Listen to each other completely. Each of you paint the picture of the results completely to the other, then switch speakers and listeners. Information is power. Now, ask yourself if the number regarding your interest has changed. Is the number at this point high enough that you’ll want to take action? Our magic number is 8 – we both have to be there to move forward.
A – Now, develop your Action plan. Write it down. It’s not real if it’s not written. There were likely be particular parts of the action plan that you will use the IRA Goal Model with. Take your time with it. Your investment of thoughtfulness will lead to the best harvest.