Webster defines "Bounce" as the ability to rebound or spring back.  Bounce in the area of marriage is the ability for a couple to rebound or spring back from a crisis or conflict.  This ability is critical in the success and growth of a couple and their relationship.  Challenges and conflict in marriage are inevitable.  It is near impossible to have two people, with two sets of problems, two personalities, two families of origins, and conflict not be real part of the relationship.  Great relationships are not a product of no conflict, they are the outcome of conflict done right.

Conflict done right involves a couples ability to bounce back.  This process requires four key attributes that I would like to share with you.  The first is that each person gain control of their emotions.  To move forward in a relationship involves both spouses ability to see beyond the "heat of the moment", to evaluate the situation in a non-emotional frame of mind.  Conflict often is a byproduct of not listening and emotions conflict with our ability to listen.  To gain control of your emotions is to slow down and process the event or events that cause the conflict.  Take a "time out', find a quiet place to process things, this will enable you to rebound in a quicker and more productive way. 

Once you have calmed your emotions, the next step is to take ownership.  A couple is two incomplete people trying to make a complete relationship.  You will very seldom find a conflict that is not a result of two people.  To own your part is to help move towards your spouse, as the conflict moved you emotionally and intimately apart.  To move closer is to move forward. 

Next, communicate.  Notice I did not include this step until 1) emotions were calm and 2) both couples had processed their role in the conflict.  Couples have a much better ability to communicate when they have the mindset to listen, and nothing helps that more than calm emotions and ownership.  Discuss how the conflict happened, what part you played, and what you could have done differently that might have helped avoid the situation.  Note, this is not a time to rebirth the conflict, but should be focused again on moving on, or bouncing back.

Lastly, move forward.  You might be surprised how many couples refuse to move on.  This is a choice we make.  There is no value to a couple in staying in the past.  Once the problem has been processed and resolved, make the choice to move on to bigger and better things.  A problem will try to stay around, like an unwelcome family member, but don't let it.  See it to the door and continue on in the blessed relationship God provided you and your spouse.  In this step be proactive, create positive experiences between you and your spouse, and make a commitment to live for today.

Marriages, like people, are not perfect.  Conflict doesn't have to push you and your spouse apart, let it be away of "bouncing" you back together.


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