Operating Systems

Operating Systems

Relational Dynamics

How we navigate our operating systems in marriage determines the level of our marital satisfaction or misery respectively.

Our operating systems and how we roll with them create all the dynamics we experience in our relationships. Ignorance of our operating systems sets us up for conflict, distance, and misunderstanding.

A healthy self-awareness of how we roll, (interact,) can deliver us from a lot of pain and confusion, and increase our connection with others. We must reformat our operating systems.

Broken Systems

I will typically approach a relational subject with the premise that mostly, we lack the skills to relate honesty, openly, and truthfully. If we possessed these skills we wouldn’t fail as badly as we do in marriage, Christian or not. We aren’t “bad,” we are broken.

This is because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. ”

This is a bible verse declaring the truth that we are all sinners and need a savior. We need redemption because we are broken with broken operating systems, and don’t know how to obtain what we want in honest straightforward ways.

We will tend toward a complaining victim attitude rather than become whole and empowered, learning to assert ourselves in healthy ways. This hinders our ability to connect to another relationally and constructively. We come crashing in as we are used to and wonder why others pull away. Our relationships bear the fruit of who we both are.

How We Get What We Want

We must return home to understand our operating systems. I will enter relationships using power the way I saw mom and dad do it. Our parents love(d) us and tried to raise us up into whole individuals who could love well. Or maybe they didn’t know how because their parents didn’t know how. Or maybe their parents were absent, physically or emotionally.

Our emotional expression; Anger or passivity will tend to be what our parents sowed into us. The sooner we get in touch with how we do it, and become self-aware, the sooner we can develop honest, straightforward, relating patterns that will draw others to us in intimacy. Following are some operating systems with their accompanying fruit. . .

The Powerhouse

This is the person who achieves their goals because they can and they have the power to do so. They will roll over others with the sheer force of their personality. We call them bullies. These are the ones who usually get what they want by using power without considering the needs and feelings of the ones they dominate. These are women as well as men.

The playing field needs levelled when there is a powerhouse involved. The “victim” in the relationship needs to establish boundaries, and not allow the powerhouse to degrade, dishonor, or shame them. I was this victim in my marriage when I married Linda. Dad was passive and mom dominated the marriage with angry power. I grew up and married “mom.”

I had to learn to stand up to her and required her to take responsibility for her use of power, and to learn to honor and respect me as her equal. I had to surrender to God, and receive my empowering, approval, and identity as a man from Him, instead of looking to woman for it, and becoming an “Ahab.” (One who abdicates their masculine authority for the approval of a woman.) I use the term metaphorically, I’m not calling you fine ladies Jezebel’s.

This is the rite of passage for a man, to stand upright before the woman, and speak the truth in love and become empowered to walk in the authority God gives to the man to run his household. “Adam, where are you?” God calls us out of “hiding among the trees in the garden with our fig leaves.” He establishes us with an identity that is truthful and powerful in a Godly way through service and sacrifice for the heart of his woman. Eph. 5

The “powerhouse” has the power and gets his (her) way in the relationship but creates distance through the use of a broken operating system that is devoid of love. The powerhouse is lonely because he operates without love. He hasn’t learned submission and honoring that is needed for mutuality and a connection of hearts. You will have no access to the heart you abuse. This is a law of life, and a kingdom principal; A kingdom that runs on love and honoring, serving and respect. The powerhouse can learn this through reformatting that requires humility, submission, repentance, and a transformed attitude.

The Manipulator

Our manipulating skills were developed and polished at home growing up. We don’t think twice about carrying these skills into marriage and employing them to get what we want. After all, “that’s how you do it.” So we automatically begin manipulating for what we want rather than be truthful and negotiate for it. Manipulating is easier than bargaining for it.

What manipulation does

It creates distance because it is hidden and not in the open. It’s a dark operating system that dishonors the one you are manipulating. You are bypassing their free will by not engaging them but applying pressure for a desired outcome. God doesn’t do that with us. He lets us choose life or death blessing or curse. He doesn’t rescue us from our choices or their fruit. This is what love does. God doesn’t rescue or enable victims.

Kingdom Conflict

We run into our relational conflict because manipulation is not a kingdom principal. Truth is. God won’t bless us when we use hidden underground forms of operating. He will call us out on our manipulation to forsake it. Love doesn’t manipulate or control to get it’s way. We are to grow in love and put away childish things. We are called to risk love by being vulnerable and honest. We risk disappointment, refusal, even rejection if God arranges that. His heart can take it. We follow Jesus to the cross and risk all for love.

Releasing control through surrender

It’s important to remember that we will squeeze the life out of whatever we try to control. That’s because control is essentially idolatry. I will be “god” and control the outcome. As controllers we are really tiny, fearful, people who can’t trust a good, powerful, reliable God.

Anne Wilson Schaeff said;

“I will remember that my illusion of control is just that, an illusion.”

Jesus didn’t bully people, He said “follow me,” then led by example.

Hope For Happily Ever After

The book is nearing completion. Hopeful for Happily Ever After—DanXO

The Anatomy of Marriage Meltdowns

Nothing hurts like a disconnected marriage. We can find the disconnects, and heal them. We can develop a strategy that brings hope. Awareness of what’s going on brings immediate hope. I can choose to change what I can see.

Oh, that’s what we’re doing!”

So shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul; If you have found it, there is a prospect, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 24:14

Cause and Effect

Newton’s third law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Without doing the research, I think he must have been married.

Perhaps many of us have been victimized by Newton’s law unawares. Simply stated, how we treat others will affect how they treat us. Big time.

There is also a sowing and reaping principal that governs life. Seeds and growing what we plant and such.

The Control Meltdown

Control or manipulation begins a marriage meltdown that won’t stop until you forsake the behavior and focus on what you are bringing to bear upon the marriage. I may think it’s them when I’m the one causing it.

Control is the action, him or her withdrawing from the control is the reaction. I won’t move toward you if you are invalidating who I am by trying to control, pressure, or change me. I respond to acceptance and affirmation creating a willingness to negotiate almost anything.

Truth be Told

It’s a hopeless feeling when we’re stuck and don’t know the way out, or lack the tools to change any of our dynamics.

In our brokenness, unable to communicate with emotional honesty, we will manipulate and apply pressure instead of risking the vulnerability to get honest about what we need. We need to get in touch with those needs first.

We need honest words that are respected, then move us into the truth of where we are as a couple. With commitment, we can then strategize together and do something about it.

There’s hope in this because I can choose not to manipulate. I can learn to be a safe talker and listener. So can my partner. We can practice communication skills together, and learn to take emotional risks as we build security into our marriage. We can choose to not be victims, living with distance in our marriage.

We Build the House we Live in

Our actions cultivate the environment we live in, like the air we breathe. I miss the boat if I focus on her and start demanding change, which seems to be the normal relational default;

If I can only change the thing in her or him that’s bothering me, then I’ll feel relief, the discomfort will go away and things will be better.

This belief or thinking actually creates a distance dynamic affecting our intimacy. The controller always pushes the controlee away from them.

The meltdown will stop and my partner will move towards me when I embrace the new belief that says;

I will accept them and validate them for who they are instead of trying to change them.

I will leave the dark territory of manipulation, and start communicating and negotiating for how I can meet my needs.

Differences in needs

It’s business as usual after the honeymoon for the typical male. It seems like for him the adventure is over because he has her now.

For her, the adventure’s just beginning, but instead of pursuing her heart and drawing her into the adventure, unaware of what her heart needs, he clams up and leaves her at home. Living in the absence of a connection with his heart and feelings, she emotionally withers.

He gets most of his needs met out there, as she waits for him to come home and hopefully meet hers there. Instead of tuning into her at home, he plops down and turns on the tube or checks out some other way.

Two Lovers Losing

His inability or unwillingness to meet her needs in the way she wants him to,(her love language), creates a reluctance for her to give herself to him in the way he needs and wants. The cause and effect of this dynamic accumulates and creates conflict and negative emotion in the marriage.

As time goes on, her default is to nag him or apply pressure to change him in order to meet her needs. Her needs are legitimate, but lacking sensitivity he is unaware of them and doesn’t know how to meet them even if he sees them there.

It helps her to have compassion and warmth if she can see him in the light of not understanding her needs. Seeing him as needing her help, not knowing what to do, rather than stubborn or unwilling to meet her needs helps.

The Strategy She Needs; Understand Your Man

Her way out is to hook up with Newton’s Law and change the cause and effect. She needs to stop applying pressure and come up with some creative ways to get his attention, (one thing I know works pretty well).

He needs words of affirmation and meaningful touch. If his needs aren’t met, he will withdraw further. If you nag, complain, criticize, or cut him off, he will withdraw feeling inadequate, criticized, and devalued. He’ll check out, and just work harder out there keeping away from you to avoid pain. There are ways in, you have to find them.

If you change your strategy and reel him in, he’ll be more receptive to what you want and need. Remember your goal in accepting and loving him also includes connecting him to your heart that wants to know and be known. It takes time and persistence to change the old dynamics but very doable.

You then need to teach him about your needs being specific about what it looks like to have them met. You have to get in touch with them yourself to articulate them to him. Believe me, he doesn’t know how to do it, you have to show him. He needs a sensitivity education from you.

Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respect her husband Eph. 5:33

The Strategy He Needs; Understand Your Woman

The best thing a man can do for himself is to understand his wife’s needs are different than his. He then needs to do everything he can to learn about and meet them. (her love language.)

She needs validation, security, and reassurance. Ignore her and she gets none of that. Her emotions need your attention and understanding, she thrives on this, not your neglect. That’s the nourishing and cherishing part the man struggles with.

Men, the worst thing we can do is criticize or demean her sensitivity or emotions. This is where the tenderness we need comes from, and if we crush her there, she won’t give her heart or anything else to us. we can end up cooking our own goose and losing the promised land.

So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.

For no one ever hated his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. Ephesians 5:28,29

Let’s Make a Deal

I’m a reasonable businessman. My language is negotiation, honestly in the open without pressure or manipulation. Anything is negotiable if it’s done with respect and good communication. Both parties win and get what they need.

Marriage meltdowns occur when two people are trying to change each other without negotiation or respectful communication. I think we all do this at first until we learn a better way. The meltdown only stops when each takes responsibility for themselves and what they are doing.

Your assignment as a couple is to read this together and talk about where control might be present and decide what to do about it. Also, talk about your two biggest needs and whether they are met or not and what you can do about it. Take time and honor feelings.

Prayer; Lord, thank you for being the God of Hope who takes away our hopelessness and despair. Thank you for the grace to relax our white knuckles of control and to trust you with our spouses, and our needs. You are the God of transformation, help us put our trust in you. Give us courage to be honest with our needs and feelings and communicate them well to our spouses. Thank you for some fresh strategies. We love you, In Jesus name. Amen. XO

I feel connected when…

I feel connected when…
  • We spend quality time together.
  • We slow things down enough to spontaneously do something fun together.
  • We determine to find enough reserve in our lives together to do that.
  • We’re present to each other without any screens to distract us.
  • We talk together about the season of life we’re in & how we feel about it.
  • We do a state of the union together, talking about how we feel we are doing in our marriage.
  • We talk about our needs. The ones that are being met & the ones that aren’t.
  • We can validate each other’s feelings without judgment or trying to fix each other.
  • We verbalize the stress and anxiety we feel and strategize how to alleviate it.
  • We invite each other into our fears and struggles and have the courage to go there.
  • We resolve our conflicts by fighting fair, discovering needs, and honoring feelings.
  • We aren’t being selfish & are saying kind things to each other.
  • We treat each other like lifelong partners & not inconveniences to what we want. XO