Tony Miltenberger is a husband, father, and follower of Christ. He is currently serving as the lead pastor at Restoration Church Centerville, ohio.

Some days I just want to sit in the mud puddle.

There are some days where all I want to do is whine. I want to fall to the ground, bang my feet up and down while I scream at the top of my lungs. Some days I want to cry about how things aren’t fair, or complain about why this thing happens to me.

Some days I lie to Facebook about how I am really feeling. I put positive stuff out there so that I can convince myself to stay away from “stinking thinking.” One of the ways I manage all of that negative thought is by being really careful whom I complain to. When I am having a day like that I just want to enjoy it, I want to roll around in it, I want to just be.

When this first started happening in my marriage, Karen would try to help me out of my pity party. She would try to cheer me up or even try to fix it. She is a Type-A personality and can often times see the easy answer. Well, needless to say, I didn’t want any part of that. I wanted to be whiny, and I was doing it on purpose.

In our efforts to create an environment where Karen and I can both complain, we came up with a key phrase. The phrase is, “I just want to sit in the mud puddle for a while.” When I say that to Karen, it means that I know I have a bad attitude, but I also know that I need to work through it. The best part about this phrase is that it gives both of us permission not to engage in the craziness, but just realize that this is a tough moment. Usually, when one of us is in the mud puddle the other will respond with, “What can I do to support you?” This very simple question gives both of us permission to say exactly what we need in that moment. Most of the time for me my response is “nothing, just give me a minute.” For her it might be a hug, or a glass of wine.

Having a phrase like this also creates an easy way to ask the other person how long this attitude is going to last, and sometimes it gives us a reason to have a serious conversation (when we are visiting the mud puddle more frequently).

At the end of it all, we are all going to have days where we want to just sit in the mud and whine. The key is not letting it derail your marriage, or your family. The mud puddle is a nice place to visit, but we can’t live there.


Relationship Check

What do you and your spouse do on bad days?

Do you take it out on each other or could you find another way to be supportive?

Take a step back and look at trends in your relationship, how often do you try to rescue your partner when he/she doesn’t want to be rescued?

How can you set up your own “mud puddle” phrase? 

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