Toward the end of my month-long reorganizing, repairing, and purging that I was doing in my house in June, my husband and I had a fight. Mind you, it wasn’t related to the hard work that we were doing on the house.
But it was a doozy of a misunderstanding on both our parts. I won’t go into all the gory details, but suffice it to say, the intensity of it scared me.
After all, we are purporting to be marriage mentors here and elsewhere, so these kinds of meltdowns, in my opinion, should never happen! 😦
I mean, do marriage mentors and well-known authors/speakers on marriage topics like Les and Leslie Parrot, Bill and Pam Farrel, or Pete and Geri Scazzero actually ever have bad fights? 😉
Les and Leslie seem to have “love talk” down to a science. And Bill and Pam Farrel are busy enjoying “ ,” while Pete and Geri Scazzero are ever ready with the “Ladder of Integrity” to unravel any conflicts they might face.
Maybe you’re not familiar with these marriage giants, but I am! And I often feel unprepared, uneasy, and unworthy to lead out on the all-important topic of marriage. Now I’m not saying that in order to elicit sympathy, or worse, judgment but simply to let you see a peek inside my insecure heart and sometimes faltering marriage.
In the first post that I wrote in this series regarding how to develop a soft heart, I felt God wanted me to not just purge years of accumulated stuff from my house but also purge the pride lurking in my heart.
Well, this argument with my husband was a prime time for me to see just how prideful and, frankly, “unloving” I could be and was. I say “was” because I identified something I’d never truly owned until that conflict . . .
Whenever my husband and I would have an over-the-top argument, I made a habit of holding a bit of my heart in reserve. Sure, we would sort it out, apologize to one another, and vow to do better the next time. Which, by the way, we have been able to do, for the most part, thanks most of all to God! 🙂
But on certain occasions, I was not truly letting go. I was choosing to let these big fights become like another stone in a wall. Stones that have now accumulated into a barrier in my heart and against my husband.
[bctt tweet=”Because of that conflict, I realized that love keeps no record of wrongs. #conflict #forgive” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
[bctt tweet=”Love risks for the sake of the loved one and doesn’t withdraw out of self-protection. Take Love risks!” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
It was like my pride wanted to say, Gary needs to prove himself completely safe or worthy of my love in order for me to fully love him. And I am speaking from a personal responsibility perspective here, owning what is mine to own.
I’m also not advocating that emotional, physical or sexual abuse ever be tolerated when it is present.* Just to be clear about this argument in my marriage, my husband wasn’t being abusive. We both just lost our tempers and said things we now regret.
Ultimately, what I am trying to say is, love . . . “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” 1 Corinthians 13:7.
- It doesn’t focus on self-protection. Instead, love seeks to protect my spouse’s heart—though ultimately God is the Protector of both our hearts. Yay, God!
- Love doesn’t doubt or blame because, paradoxically, my husband will rise to the standard I set for him. If it is low and fraught with criticism, he will most likely try to fulfill the image that I project upon him.
- It doesn’t give up—thinking I deserve better! Instead, love realizes God’s best is hidden in the hardships of life and marriage. So I reach out to hold my Deliverer’s hand as I keep moving forward in faith, while I also reach out with my other hand to hold my husband’s.
Click the link if you’d like to read the previous posts in the Soft Heart in Marriage series. And come back next time for a fresh cup of Messy Marriage brew!
What have you learned from the problems or conflicts you’ve faced in your marriage?
What part of loving and forgiving your mate is the hardest for you?
I am traveling this Wednesday, so I may have more difficulty responding to comments or blog hopping. But will give it my best effort to visit those who comment here or linkup early. Thanks so much! And join me next week when I’ll be continuing the “Soft Heart” series with a post on the power of pulling away that includes a tool on reflection. I hope you’ll join me!
*I am in no way advocating for submission to emotional abuse in marriage. I’m talking about learning to accept the flaws and failures of a mate, as well as processing them with God, my mate and often with trusted confidantes. If you are in an abusive relationship, seek immediate confidential and experienced counsel on how you can safely deal with your abusive situation.
Joining with my friends at Giving Up on Perfect, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Coffee and Conversation, Coffee for Your Heart, Sitting Among Friends, Nanahood, DanceWithJesusFriday and Wholehearted Wednesday.
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