Years ago when our kids were small, we had a habit of letting our tempers take us to heights of hostility and summits of stupidity.
What made this “argumentative mountain climbing” worse was, we had our “kids strapped to our backs” as we clung to the jagged edges of our egos, anchoring into our opposing points of view.
Did we realize the danger we were exposing them to at the time?
I don’t think we did completely
, but that’s no excuse. We wrote this distorted message on the tablet of their little lives, “The way you work through a problem is by arguing about it and sometimes arguing VERY LOUDLY!”
Our kids in their little minds probably felt like this occurred because, for some reason, when you are married and mad you either lose your hearing, so that you have to yell, or you decide to ignore everyone else’s feelings or points of view except your own.
I was reminded of those terrible days when I looked back over some of the journaling I did during the early years of our marriage. One account talked about an argument that escalated badly over where our dog pooped in the backyard! What in the world were thinking?!
All I know is that I remember getting so caught up in the heat of the moment and making my point known and understood to my husband, and vice versa … that nothing else mattered. Was I successful in making my point and being understood? Not a chance!
Did I damage my children’s sense of safety?
Did I fill their hearts with dread when any disagreement cropped up or even now crops up?
Did I alter their view of married love and respectful communication?
Did I stomp on any sense of how to control one’s temper?
Did I rob my children and husband of a Christ-like example?
Did I rip at the fabric of my marriage in ways that we’re still trying to mend some 15 to 20 years later?
I would humbly have to reply in the affirmative. Our arguments may have felt exhilarating on some level at the time, but oh, from what heights we fell.
Is this a tendency you and/or your spouse have when a conflict catapults your anger to new heights?
Just remember that, not only does your consuming desire to argue harm your marriage
, it can annihilate your children’s hearts and poison their perspective of future relationships and marriage.
So instead of making your temper your god, turn to the One true God to help you calm the anger that surges. Step away and pray, cry, read your Bible, gain God’s peace and perspective. Then discuss matters when you can model a Christ-like, calm and respectful attitude for your watching children. I promise the view for everyone from that vantage point will be worth all the effort!
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” James 1:19 (NLT)
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