From experience I’ve learned to be more patient. I’ve also learned to avoid having to do damage control after telling too much too soon. It caused a huge rift in my marriage and is in my opinion one of the contributing factors that lead to my divorce. One piece of advice that I offer to those who seek my counsel, is that they impose a 72 hour rule in their households.
What’s the 72 hour rule?
Waiting 72 hours before you vent to anyone about something your spouse did/or didn’t do that you didn’t agree with or appreciate. If the problem hasn’t been resolved in 72 hours, you are allowed to vent to one person who is a non-family member (I’ll explain why a family member shouldn’t be an option later).
Why Wait 72 hours?
I’m pretty candid about my past. I believe that we all can allow God to use the mistakes that we make to create positive outcomes. So frankly I remember the days when my ex-husband would do something that I deemed as horrific. I’d call my mom, girlfriends, and anyone else who would listen to me vent about the situation. Only to find that in the next 24-48 hours we (my husband and I) would discuss the situation and make up.
The problem with this is that while you and your spouse are making up, your friends/family members are discussing your situation with others (Yes, hard to believe but they will tell at least one other person about your situation whether they disclose your identity or not). And if this isn’t your first time discussing your spouse’s flaws/mistakes to them, you can believe that they have a mental rolling tab of them. And it’s only natural, because the person that you choose to vent to has a loyalty to you…not your spouse. It’s highly unlikely that you’re going to call your spouse’s mother and talk to her about how insensitive your spouse is and how he’s overly controlling. Because naturally you know that while she may listen, her loyalty will most like lie with her child.
The 72 hour rule also gives you some time to rationally think about the situation. Often times, many (myself included) of us choose to make decisions when we’re the most emotional. If you wait at least 72 hours, it allows you time to re-evaluate the severity of the situation. For example, you may not agree with your spouse’s purchase of that riding lawn mower. And initially you think he’s being selfish about buying it. But in 72 hours, you may come to realize that it will result in him spending less time cutting grass on Saturdays. And it may add to your time together, because the old push mower that you owned required him to work all day.
Who Can I Talk To?
That’s a great question and there’s an even better solution. The first one you should seek to tell is God (Psalm 55:22). Pour out your cares and fears to him first!!! If there’s anyone who can cause change to a situation it is him (Matt. 19:26). That’s the reason it doesn’t benefit for anyone to vent to their friends/family as a first resort! They honestly don’t have any way to change the situation. The power is in God’s hand. And when you ask him for the strength and power to handle it, be patient and trust that he will make it better (Psalm 27:14).
Why NOT Family?
Your family has an underlying emotional love for you that will rarely ever fade. As much as you may preface a conversation with “I want you to just listen”, they are still going to inately try to help devise a resolution to the problem, whether you ask for it or not. Not to mention, because of the strong bond that family members have they aren’t likely to fully forget. Don’t think that’s true…vaguely ask them about a situation from 2 years ago. Chances are they can give it to you in full detail. It’s best to have one key friend that isn’t in direct relation to your family. If possible, seek to speak to a leader in your church. It may help you speak more candidly and confidently about your situation. And may serve to help you gain the strength to be patient and wait.
When NOT to use the 72 Hour Rule
If you’re a victim of domestic violence, seek immediate help. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Below are resources, that offer more insight about domestic violence. If you know or suspect someone is a victim of domestic violence, please speak up.
National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE
The 72-hour rule is created to help you avoid the need for damage control. You should never speak poorly of your spouse to anyone, if you can avoid it. We’re all flawed and if you’re constantly speaking to others about your spouses’, people are going to have a negative impression of them that will be hard to overcome. I share my experiences, so that others can avoid the unnecessary pitfalls that may surface in marriages. While the devil destroyed my marriage, I’m determined to work harders so the same doesn’t happen to many others.
God bless you all!
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Tanisha Rankins is a motivational speaker, encouraging diligence to create positive results from negative situations. Having faced and overcome consistent adversity, Rankins attributes her positivity and resilience to her strong faith in God. Through her own experience with divorce, Rankins now serves as a coach for those who are/have gone through divorce/separation. In her weekly blog, “Divorced…But Not By Choice”, she speaks candidly about the negative effects of divorce and gives advice to help others recover from it in a healthy manner.
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