Healthy Marriages Avoid the Emotional Greenhouse Effect

At work we've been watching a series of videos aimed at developing within us truck dispatchers the skills we need to build strong relationships with our guys out on the highways driving trucks. One thing the video instructor said has really stuck with me because I feel like it has applications for relationships far beyond the bounds of trucking. The instructor used the illustration of a greenhouse to describe what it is like for drivers dealing with problems when they are out on the road. He said the cab of a truck acts like an emotional greenhouse that heats up real fast and makes little things turn into big ones quickly.

Immediately I thought of the marriage relationship. In strong marriages little things are dealt with quickly before they can turn into big things. Forgiveness is given, offenses are overlooked, intentions are not questioned, and grace flows freely between each partner. In struggling marriages all the opposites exist. Little things aren't dealt with and they become big things, fast. Forgiveness is withheld, offenses lead to bitterness, intentions are questioned with the worst always being assumed, and grace is nonexistent. The emotional greenhouse effect takes places and things that should be small become big, quickly. And if this persists, the relationship is destined for trouble.

In trucking communication and honesty are the keys to successful relationships between dispatchers and truckers. The drivers need to be able to ask questions and get honest answers. Both dispatchers and drivers need to be able to trust one another and believe that each party is doing everything they can to contribute to the relationship in a way that is mutually beneficial to each party. These same principles are without a doubt essential to having a happy, endearing and enduring marriage. Both partners must be humble enough to lay aside their own desires, concerns and rights for the betterment of the marriage.  Then, when these attitudes become essential parts of the marriage foundation, the effects of the emotional greenhouse are avoided and the marriage will be stronger and healthier.