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Overlook or Overcome?

Dr. Chris and Alisa Grace pose for the cover of The Art of Relationships Podcast.

Conflict is inevitable in every relationship, but what types of conflict should you overlook or try to overcome? In today's podcast, Dr. Chris and Alisa Grace share strategies on when to be accommodating, work through disagreements, or when to seek professional help if emotions get out of hand.  

Speaker 1: Welcome to another Art of Relationships podcast. We are grateful for listeners like you. Let's get right into it. 

Alisa Grace: Hey. Welcome back to another episode, another podcast of the Art of Relationships. I'm Alisa Grace. I'm the co-director of the Center for Marriage and Relationships at Biola University and I'm joined by my handsome husband, Dr. Chris Grace. 

Chris Grace: Yeah, I'm Chris, and I'm the handsome husband. 

Alisa Grace: Yes you are. Yes you are. So, last week, Chris, what we talked about, we did a podcast on anger, and what is anger, what are the causes of it, is it okay? And we talked about that there are times when anger is okay and it's healthy and it's an important part of managing conflict in a healthy way. And we also talked about some of the danger signs, how anger can become toxic to our relationships. And so today, we wanted to talk about what are some really practical ways we can manage anger during our times of conflict. 

Chris Grace: Well, what a cool topic, because man, the things that can make us angry vary from a sporting event ... I just so get into certain games, or I love watching baseball, football, whatever it is on TV. I'll watch anything that's sports on ESPN. But if I'm really invested in the team, it just can make me ... Especially if somebody does something really dumb or a coach makes a bad decision, it can make me angry sometimes. Just like, "Ah, why'd he do that?" And I'm always surprised. Like, "Oh, he missed the field goal. Cut him! We don't want him." 

But there are other times where you're watching something on the news and it just hurts and it makes you angry. There's a lot of tension in the world or a social injustice. It just makes you angry. Other people, Lis, I mean, I remember being in cars and driving and thinking that I tended to get more angry driving because it tended to be, in our relationship, that you were always the passenger. Well, there was a season in life where you were driving more and I was the passenger, and I remember you getting more frustrated when somebody cut us off. I was like, "Oh, she does get angry on the highway." It just happened-

Alisa Grace: Or I get angry when you tell me how to drive. 

Chris Grace: Oh, yeah, well-

Alisa Grace: Right? 

Chris Grace: Okay, let's not talk about that, but, yeah, that's right, when I say how to drive. Because when you're driving, you're a little bit more keyed up, and so the driver can get a little bit more frustrated if the passenger says, "Turn here. Wait, where are you going? Wait." Or they criticize your driving, or somebody cuts you off. 

Alisa Grace: Yeah. 

Chris Grace: It's because I think adrenaline is flowing through the driver-

Alisa Grace: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. 

Chris Grace: ... at a higher rate than adrenaline is flowing let's say through the passenger. And so what happens is you find these different things. So maybe for others, Lis, I don't see you angry very often. Anger isn't one of your go-to emotions. You do get angry, of course, but I think your anger is probably a little bit more when people are not treating other people fairly or it's kind of a justice issue sometimes that makes you really frustrated, or someone says something mean to another person, and you're like, "That's not nice." 

Alisa Grace: Yeah, yeah. I think one common source of anger and conflict, especially in a marriage relationship or dating relationship, friendship, really, for that matter, but especially marriage, can be unmet expectations. 

Chris Grace: Yeah, so another one ... That's good. 

Alisa Grace: Yeah. Oftentimes, we don't even realize that we have that expectation until it goes unmet. 

Chris Grace: Yeah. Man, that's good. So there's sporting events. There's driving. There's people that are committing social or even any kind of injustice. There's unmet expectations. Pretty much we could go list anything that can cause anger. It's just a natural part of human beings, and we talked about that in our last podcast. 

Lis, one thing that seems to unify all of these things with anger, it is a physiological response. It involves things like our ... Well, in the brain, it involves our amygdala, and in fact, in studies in my area of psychology, what happens is you can watch the amygdala firing when someone gets angry. Man, it's just bam, bam, bam, bam, and it's just going. And brain scans show that if you stimulate a certain part of the amygdala in any animal, especially animals like rats or animals that are close to humans let's say in their brain structures. Even humans that have had growths or tumors in the amygdala, one of the consequences is increased lack of control or feelings of aggression and anger. 

In fact, a cool study, Lis, took people and they are watching their amygdalas on screen going highly active because of an argument that they were asked to replay in their mind or to even recreate with their spouse while they were in an MRI machine. Can you imagine that? All right, you're in this little machine. Now I want you to argue with your spouse about something you guys obviously have conflict over. And the amygdala was just going bam, bam, bam. And then they had people begin to show calming things when they begin to label it and identify it and have self-awareness. And we talked about that in the last podcast about what are some ways that you can manage anger, and one was by becoming aware of the other emotions that were going on. 

So, Lis, let's talk about, then, what can a person do? We talked last time about some healthy emotions and we talked about some things that bug us. So there are some times in which anger is something that we might just want to overlook. Like give us an example of something that when you have anger, you just really need to be able to let it go. Give me some examples and what that looks like. 

Alisa Grace: Yeah. Well, the verse that comes to mind with this is Proverbs 19:11, and it says this. It says, "Good sense makes one slow to anger and it's his or her glory to overlook an offense." 

Chris Grace: Yes. 

Alisa Grace: And so the kind that you can just choose to overlook, and we call these ... They would just be the examples of normal, everyday little irritants, right? I leave my shoes in the middle of the bedroom floor and you trip over them, and that can spark anger and conflict, right? It's a small thing.

Chris Grace: By the way, this morning, I got up to-

Alisa Grace: It's a small thing-

Chris Grace: I got up to use ... For whatever reason, I went-

Alisa Grace: It's small. 

Chris Grace: ... and you know we have two different-

Alisa Grace: All right? It's small. 

Chris Grace: ... restrooms, and I went to the restroom that you were in. I tripped on your shoes this morning. 

Alisa Grace: Did you really? 

Chris Grace: I did. 

Alisa Grace: Oh, I'm sorry. 

Chris Grace: It was so weird. I never-

Alisa Grace: Maybe I shouldn't have brought up that example. 

Chris Grace: No, but, okay, it's a small irritant. Well, initially, you respond. I remember I did trip, and like, "Oh, ah, what was that?" And I looked down and I see your shoe. Well, okay, the reason it's small is I could get upset that you happened to leave it there. But one of the things I have to learn, according to that verse, is to go, "Wait a minute. Hold on. Is this really that big of a deal?" I just need to learn how to quickly self-manage that feeling. 

Alisa Grace: Right. And part of it is understanding that for each of us being annoyed with each other, we can be just as annoying, right? I can get ticked at you because you smack your gum. You can get ticked at me because I leave my shoes on the floor. But what we have to realize is, "Hey, I can be annoying, too. So I need to cut him some slack." And then just paying attention to what pushes your buttons, right? If I know that leaving my shoes in the middle of the floor, if that's going to irritate you, then gosh, just darn it, Lis, the closet is two steps away, take the two seconds it's going to cost me and just toss them in the closet. 

Chris Grace: So are you saying ... So avoid pushing their buttons, is that what you mean? 

Alisa Grace: Yeah. If you know it's a little irritant for them, that it irks them, then just make the choice not to do it. We all have that choice over our behavior, right? 

Chris Grace: So some of this, Lisa, we're going to go over, it comes out of A Weekend to Remember marriage conference in which we actually spent time talking about some of these things, like overlooking, and what we're going to talk about today in this podcast is what kind of responses should we have to anger? One that you're talking about is overlooking. And as we discussed this very thing at A Weekend to Remember, I remember a person wrote in a question and said, "Could you answer this at the Weekend to Remember?" And it was from the husband, who said, "Okay. Why does my wife always ask a question that she knows the answer to? For example," he said, "I leave my underwear there. My wife walks up and she goes, 'Whose underwear are those?' She knows whose underwear those are. Does she-"

Alisa Grace: Are these yours? 

Chris Grace: Are these yours? Whose underwear is this? And he goes, "It makes me so angry. And it befuddles me to no end, because she already knows the answer, and why does she do that?" Okay. Anger makes us go crazy by saying weird things. But, sometimes, the underwear on the floor or the shoes on the floor, the smacking of the gum pushes another person's button. And one of the things that you're saying is we need to learn how to stop pushing buttons and take responsibility for some things. And, if we're on the other end, the receiving end, is how to maybe-

Alisa Grace: Let it go and overlook it if it's a small offense. Yeah. 

Chris Grace: Yeah. 

Alisa Grace: Just let it go. Like I think when at one point in our marriage, I can remember that you would leave the cabinet doors open in the kitchen, right? I walk in, I can tell exactly what snack you have because the cabinet door is open, the drawer is pulled open, the cereal cabinet's open. And I can just get so irked, I could, because it's like, "Oh my gosh, how many times to I have to mention, 'Could you please close the cabinet? Please close the cabinet. Please close the cabinet.'" And I could really let that irk me and cause a lot of angst and jump all over you about it. But you know what? If I just pause for a second and I say, "But you know what? In the overall scheme of life, he is a really great guy. He comes home to me every day. He has been faithful. He works hard. He provides for us. He does little small things that are just sweet acts of thoughtfulness for me."

Chris Grace: Yes, that's exactly [crosstalk]-

Alisa Grace: "You know what? In the whole scheme of life, shutting the cabinet door is not that big of deal. I need to let it go."

Chris Grace: Yeah. And taking my perspective, I mean, getting Captain Crunch into me, the need at that moment was so great-

Alisa Grace: That's so gross. 

Chris Grace: ... that if you take time to shut the doors, I mean, that stuff gets soggy-

Alisa Grace: It gets soggy. 

Chris Grace: It's-

Alisa Grace: And it's gross. Captain Crunch is gross when it's soggy. 

Chris Grace: Exactly. 

Alisa Grace: I'm hearing you. I hear you. 

Chris Grace: So, Lis, by the way, it's hard, saintly, to overlook these things. I mean, me chewing gum and popping gum, it can drive you crazy. It's hard when it just bugs you and bugs you and bugs you and bugs you. So, I mean, we're not saying ignore it. We're not saying pretend ... But have the conversation, let the other person know, express it in a way, and then once you've done that, I think, Lisa, it's-

Alisa Grace: You've just got to choose the hill you want to die on, at the bottom line. 

Chris Grace: Yeah. Okay, let's just say it's a small deal. Now, let's go to-

Alisa Grace: To another category. 

Chris Grace: Yeah. Let's go to another category. The ones that you need to deal with. 

Alisa Grace: So kind of the least serious is-

Chris Grace: Yeah, is that one. 

Alisa Grace: ... the kind that you can overlook. You can just remove it immediately from the table of having to be dealt with. The second one that's a little bit higher that takes ... It probably represents a bigger proportion or percentage of our conflict is the kind that you can overcome. Right? And that just means it's the kind that you can resolve quickly. And I think you were just alluding to it. I think it just takes realizing that you're married to a selfish person who won't always follow your own script, and you know what? I'm selfish, too. And just understanding that. Understanding that gridlock is going to occur when we both feel like we're right, right? 

Chris Grace: Right. And that's exactly right, Lis. And so what we have to be able to do is overcome these. I think what you're getting at, am I right here by saying that sometimes couples, in fact, one researcher said around 69, 70% of all of our conflict and anger over conflict is about something that's going to kind of always be there. It's perpetual. It's just always there. 

Alisa Grace: Irresolvable. 

Chris Grace: Yeah. You can't resolve this by ... And here's an example. You're an extrovert and you love going out and doing things and wanting to go see people and go to lunch and go to dinner and have the whatever. And I slightly lean towards introversion. Well, I don't expect you to become an introvert like me and stay home, nor do you expect me to become an extrovert. But that's going to cause a perpetual problem because you're never going to change, and I don't want you to, and I'm never going to change, and I don't want you to change me. Yeah. 

Alisa Grace: We're just wired that way, right. 

Chris Grace: Or how we process. Some of us love to process things externally and talk. Others, like I need internal time, and, well, I'm not going to change that. I don't want it to. That's who you are. But once we learn that it's perpetual, instead of changing the other person, we learn to go, "Oh, hold on here. I can manage that one by learning what it means to manage an issue."  Let's say of extroversion introversion differences by saying, "You know what? I am going to make an effort to reach out and go with Alisa on a date night more regularly, and to go with a couple." And you could say, "I'm going to learn how to watch a game at home with Chris and give him that option." I mean-

Alisa Grace: Instead of getting angry at, "We're watching baseball again?"

Chris Grace: Yeah. 

Alisa Grace: Instead, I'm going to make a choice, a unilateral decision to actually enter into your world with you and learn something about it, because I know you love it. And I love you, and if it's important to you, it's important to me. And so it's-

Chris Grace: Yeah, [crosstalk]-

Alisa Grace: ... the idea of valuing the relationship over winning the argument, right? 

Chris Grace: Ooh, that's really good. Yeah, that's good. 

Alisa Grace: And it's also, I think, a decision not to let anger kind of hijack the conversation. But instead, we make a choice to react with a calm demeanor and choosing relationship over winning. And then, I think, coming to each other with that sense of true humility. 

Chris Grace: Give us an example. Like, Alisa, you do this so well, so let's just say that one of the things that's bothering you is for a couple of weeks on end, you find yourself wanting to go out, suggesting going someplace, and maybe going out with friends, and I'm watching the games, and then it's Super Bowl weekend. Before that, it was the playoffs. And then baseball season starts. And all of a sudden, you are finding yourself wanting to go out, and it's frustrating you. So how can you do that? Just real quickly, what's the practical way that you can approach this in a good way? Because I've seen you do it, and that is you come to me, not during a state of heightened physiological or [crosstalk]-

Alisa Grace: When I'm angry. 

Chris Grace: ... or while you're ticked and when you're angry-

Alisa Grace: When I'm angry. 

Chris Grace: ... but it's when you're not, and that [crosstalk]-

Alisa Grace: Right. And so, yeah, I think what I would do is I would come and I would just share with you my heart, how I'm feeling about it. Willa Williams is our staff marriage and family therapist at the Center for Marriage and Relationships, and she says to approach it this way. She says to use descriptive words, to share how I'm feeling when a certain circumstance happens. So what I would say is, "Hey, Chris, I know that we've been staying home because you haven't felt really good the last couple of weeks and so we've really been staying home a lot, and just letting you rest and kind of decompress because we've had a lot of work and stuff. But I need to let you know I'm just really starting to feel a little cooped up and anxious. I think as an extrovert, I need to interact with some other people. So would you mind ... How would you feel if this weekend, instead of staying home, would it be okay with you if we planned maybe a date night with some of our friends, or we go just meet them for dinner on Saturday night. Would that be okay with you?" And then I would kick it over to you and let you respond. 

Chris Grace: Yeah, and what I love, by the way, because this is actually something, a conversation we had not that long ago, and even I love the other thing you did is you said, "What would be a good night? If you agree, would Friday or Saturday afternoon or Sunday? Let me know, because I want to work around your reading or your working or watching a game or whatever you were planning. What would be a good night?" And I remember saying, "Oh, man, do not pick Saturday at 2:00, because that's when this one thing I want to be doing. But anything other around that, I'm good." Or whatever it was. So I think that's a good example of something that a conflict that can be, in your words-

Alisa Grace: Overcome. 

Chris Grace: Yeah, we can overcome this one. 

Alisa Grace: We can quickly overcome it with a constructive, calm discussion. And I think part of being able to do that, too, Chris, is our heart posture. When we think about what's the state of my heart coming into this conversation, into this conflict? Because I think what it does is it really requires humility on both our parts. When we are both trying to manage an angry situation, manage conflict. And one of the verses that comes to mind, it's a real frequent one and popular one that a lot of us know, and it's Philippians 2, 3, and 4, and it says, "Don't do anything out of selfishness or empty conceit, but in humility count others ..." Hello, that would be Chris, Alisa. "Count others as more significant than yourself and look not only to your own interest, but also to the interests of others." Or to Chris's interests. 

And so I think, for me, what I love is that little phrase, and I think I've mentioned it before in some of our podcasts, but it really has changed the way I look at conflict. And so I share this principle a lot when we talk about it. But it's that idea of biblical humility. In humility, what does that mean? What is biblical humility? And it's actually the quality of being courteously respectful of each other. And I think the opposite of it would be being arrogant or aggressive or demanding your own way about it. 

Chris Grace: Yeah. That's good, Alisa. I love that idea of what ... First of all, the word respect is powerful for people to show that, and courteously respectful means it's almost like managed, isn't it? Like I can still be courteous and respectful and doing in a way, and yet that is-

Alisa Grace: And angry. 

Chris Grace: Yeah. And that's humility-

Alisa Grace: You can still be angry.

Chris Grace: ... isn't it? 

Alisa Grace: Yes.

Chris Grace: And then your other definition of it is-

Alisa Grace: Yeah, and it's the idea of rather than me first, let's do it what I want to do the way I want to do it when I want to do it. Instead, it lets us go more than halfway to meet the needs and interests of our spouses, right? 

So a couple of years ago, we went on a business trip, and we went to Philadelphia. We had never been to Philadelphia before. And so while Chris was off in his meetings for work, I went on a little bus tour of the city of Philadelphia. I love history. I love seeing all the little touristy sites, like Betsy Ross's house. We went to Independence Hall. And one of the cool things, right there where the Liberty Bell is, the people that work there, I wish you would have been with me to see them, Chris. They were the coolest thing in the world. There was this man standing there, a docent who worked there, and he had the powdered wig, the puffy white shirt, the puffy sleeves with the red vest, the black short britches that come to the knee, stockings, and the black shoes with the big gold buckles on them. He looked so cool standing there very regally with his hands behind his back while he stood next to the wall, looking very cool. 

And so I actually went up to him and I said, "Oh, excuse me, would you mind, could I take your picture?" And he just looks at me very nicely and he says, "This would make you happy?" And I said, "Oh, yes. It would make me very happy." And then with a slight bow, he nodded his head and he said, "Then it is what I live for." And I was like, "Oh my gosh. That is so cool. Hey, can I bring my husband here and can you teach him that little phrase?" And he kind of laughed and he said, "Oh, that is what all the ladies say." And I'm thinking, "Yeah, I bet it is. I bet it is."

Chris Grace: Oh, I hate Philadelphia. I'll be honest with you. Who could do-

Alisa Grace: I know, but seriously, what if we could really take that kind of heart posture, though? That's what biblical humility is, is it's being able to say, "Chris, this would make you happy? Then it's what I live for." And then to actually do it with a happy heart. Because if I'm willing to compromise or you're willing to compromise and go that extra mile to making each other's interests happen, but we do it grumpy or sighing and like, "Well, I hope you know what I'm giving up to make your dream come true." If you're doing it with that kind of snotty attitude, then you might as well not even do it, because you've just canceled out any benefit that you would have gotten by being willing to compromise or consider their interests first, right? So you have to do it with a happy heart, a smile on your face, right? 

Chris Grace: I love that. It's so cool. I don't like Philadelphia and I don't like guys dressed in whatever he was dressed in. That just seems awkward and weird and-

Alisa Grace: It was awesome. It was awesome. 

Chris Grace: No, yeah, whatever. But here's the cool thing. I think related to that is a notion that almost reminds me, Alisa, of a passage in Matthew 11:28 where Jesus is described and describes himself as gentle and lowly. 

Alisa Grace: Gentle and lowly. 

Chris Grace: And I think that ... "Come to me ..." If you all remember that passage, I'm sure. "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble." It's one of the few times Jesus ever really described himself and his heart. But that's humility. How can the creator of the universe, the god of all, the lord of all, call himself, "I am gentle and lowly. I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you shall find rest for your soul." So there's something about this. It's really challenging. It's really hard. But Alisa, we can overcome some of these things if we take you're saying an approach to humility. What else? 

Alisa Grace: Yeah. And valuing the relationship over winning. 

Chris Grace: Okay. 

Alisa Grace: Okay, so, as we look at the three different kinds of conflict that we're talking of, we talked about the kind you can overlook and you can just choose to let it go, right? It's just a-

Chris Grace: The daily irritants that you really do need-

Alisa Grace: I'm just going to overlook it and move on and be happy that I have an awesome spouse in every other way. Because there's a lot of women who lost their spouses during COVID that would be very happy to have what I have, cabinet doors open, drawers open and all. Right? So there's the kind we can overlook, the kind we can overcome and resolve quickly with a very calm, respectful, structured conversation. But then there's a third area or a category of conflict that's a little bit tougher that I think we need to talk about, and this is the kind that can overwhelm us, right? There's hope. It's more serious, first of all. It's more serious. We're talking about this would be things like infidelity, maybe you're dealing with an addictive situation, like alcohol addiction, drug addiction, porn addiction. There may even be abuse in this kind of situation. 

And these are not the kind of conflicts that are going to be dealt with in just one really good conversation and then you're done, it's resolved. There is hope that steps can be taken to resolve it, but usually, these are the kind of offenses that are going to require more than just an apology. They're going to require actual accountability, usually to a third party outside the marriage, and it may be a situation where you get a professional involved with you, right? A therapist, a really good, solid, Christian therapist, your pastor, an accountability partner. Maybe you're going to AA. Those kind of things. But you're going to professionals to bring in a kind of accountability and steps to resolving more serious issues. 

Chris Grace: Yeah. And so I think, Lis, with that, it really is the kind that overwhelms us. I think the mental picture is you just start to sink. You know you're in over your head. These issues are something that hurt, that are painful, that maybe, as you mentioned, whether it's addiction or pornography, something that is so transformative in a negative way that we realize, okay, my spouse needs help. I need help. But, Lis, it also starts with a heart posture of taking responsibility, owning it, admitting it, apologizing for it. And you know those nine magic words, right? I was wrong. I am sorry. Please forgive me. That's the beginning step. But in what you're talking about is the kind that overwhelms us, in those situations, that's the first step, but then you have to start doing something. 

Alisa Grace: You have to actually take steps to get the help you need. Right? 

Chris Grace: Right, yeah. 

Alisa Grace: And so, yeah, we just mentioned what some of those steps would be. 

Chris Grace: Get help. Get an accountability partner. Go to counseling. And Lis, those you mentioned, for those that are in that situation in a marriage, get yourself also somebody that you can walk with who can help you. Maybe a spouse who's gone through this with their husband, and talk to them, and learn from them, and-

Alisa Grace: A support group, maybe. 

Chris Grace: ... get a support group. Because not just does the person whose causing these issues and dealing with this need to go get help, but the person who is the innocent spouse, let's say. Because eventually, it probably will come down to marital counseling, even, to deal with what role am I playing in either ignoring or encouraging in a weird, odd way this person's bad behavior. Am I doing something myself? Or am I not meeting the spouse's need in some way? Now, that's usually not the case, but there is help that can help couples as one goes through help that the other one can learn, oh, here's some ways I can support you. 

Alisa Grace: What part they play. Because, yeah, I think what you're saying is that both partners can play a part-

Chris Grace: That's right, yeah. 

Alisa Grace: ... in the recovering and the healing. 

Chris Grace: That's right, I think so. 

Alisa Grace: And I think another aspect of this, this third kind of conflict, which can be overwhelming, could also include areas like chronic health issues or a catastrophic health issue, right? Or grief. If you have the loss of a child, maybe you've lost your job or a parent, something like that. I think two years ago when you were diagnosed with stage three colon cancer, man, that began a year-long treatment program that I'm going to say was just brutal. It was brutal for you. We also had our youngest daughter that was 17 had a herniated disk, developed a herniated disk that was just debilitating at the time for her. And so we had massive amounts of stress going on with your health issues, a brutal treatment program, her in so much pain. And as a caretaker, I was just feeling totally overwhelmed. And so you were overwhelmed with just feeling like crap all the time, if I could say that. I mean, you were just so sick from the chemo, the surgery, the radiation. And our family was in ... We were in a tough place. And so having people that came alongside us, a strong community, and then also support groups. Even some that we're in now for some of the aftermath of what you're dealing with from your particular kind of surgery is super helpful. 

Chris Grace: Yeah, that's really good, Lis. Yeah. There's nothing like suffering in a way that is painful, whether it's a herniated disk, but there's also nothing like the understanding and care you get from a spouse that's there, that listens and cares. Also, in a support group, to be able to talk about with another person that they know what you've experienced, for example. 

So, Alisa, in those situations, when conflict is a result there, it really is going to be hard work. This isn't just something you can do. It really does take an effort. And this is where prayer comes in. This is where making a decision that I am going to invest in this relationship, I'm going to get help for what I need, owning it. And so for people out there that are listening to this, understand that there are some high-ticket items and low-ticket items. The low-ticket items, okay, whatever, you can work on those, overcome. But these higher ones do require prayer and time and support, and-

Alisa Grace: And help. 

Chris Grace: And help. And so there's a lot of resources out there. For example, just go to our website, You could go to a support group of the thing you're dealing with. It could be pornography. There are Covenant Eyes and Purity Reports, and try those things out, and-

Alisa Grace: And support groups. 

Chris Grace: And support groups. If it's alcohol and any sort of addiction, there are so many counselors, and Christian counselors, out there. We have referrals all the time. But go make that step and encourage the person you're with to join you and support you and come alongside you. 

Alisa Grace: Yeah. And I think probably the final thing to remember in this final category that's so much more serious in our conflict in our relationships is that you can rebuild trust. We want to leave you with hope that you can rebuild trust, you can rebuild your marriage, you can rebuild your relationships. But it's going to require time. This kind of-

Chris Grace: Yeah. It takes a lot of effort. 

Alisa Grace: ... break and hurt in the relationship isn't going to be dealt with overnight or even in a week or a month. It may take a year. It make take two years. But the fact that you're making the effort, taking the steps to get the help you need to rectify this situation, to resolve whatever is going on, that you're actually putting the effort in and that you're able to see forward progress. It may be two steps foreword, one step back, but you want to be able to see that pattern of forward progress. 

Chris Grace: Yeah. That really is important. And if you're the spouse that's dealing with the anger side of this and that's what's overwhelming the relationship, you're screaming, you're yelling, you're getting close to that abuse, there are also support groups for that. You could go and look at anger management and you can go talk to a counselor and say, "What are the deeper emotions that are going on?" Start diving into the things like pain and fear and frustration that's driving that anger. So if that's what's overwhelming your relationship, that's how we started this, go get help, because there are help. Don't let anger erode this intimacy and oneness that we're designed for and connected to, and get the help you need. And Lis, why don't you close this out? 

Alisa Grace: Yeah. I'll close with this quote by Tim and Joy Downs. They said, "Marriage is the only institution in the world where you can win every battle but lose the war." And so we want to help you win the entire war for your marriage, for your family, for your relationships. And you can do that with some really practical steps that we talked about today. You can do that through the empowerment of the holy spirit, inviting him into the process with you, and there is hope. So we're just so glad you joined us today. It's a joy to come in here and do this podcast. If you have a question that you would like for us to address, we would love to maybe answer it in one of our Q&A times that we do on the podcast. Just contact us at You can also find us on Instagram, on Twitter, and our handle is @BiolaCMR, and that's Biola, B as in boy, I-O-L-A, then CMR. So we look forward to being with you another time, and Chris, thanks for a great visit. 

Chris Grace: No, it's awesome. It's fun to talk about these things, even hard things, because with God's empowerment and the holy spirit present, it's amazing what we can do with hope. And we bless each of you out there listeners, and we ask that God will strengthen you and encourage you in your relationships and in your marriages, and it's just fun talking with you all. 

Alisa Grace: We'll talk to you next time. Bye. 

Chris Grace: Bye. 

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