It's with a humble heart that I write this blog post.
I'm not writing this to somehow prove that my marriage is better than anyone else's. It's not really. My husband and I are normal human beings. We have annoying habits, quirks, and plenty of disagreements. We are like every other married couple I know.
Except we don't fight.
That's not to say we've NEVER fought. There was one time. I was standing in my bathroom putting on make-up, and I was rather angry at my husband. I don't remember why, but I'm sure it was important. I took a deep breath and tried to control my thoughts, but decided it really wasn't worth the effort. He was standing just outside the bathroom door when I turned to him and started yelling. Whatever I said, the words stung.
He left the room quickly and silently. A few minutes later I heard a loud thump. I slowly walked down the hallway only to find my husband standing next to a hole the shape of a fist in our living room wall.
My calm, composed, and compassionate husband had punched a hole in the wall out of anger.
Anger is a funny thing. It has this way of making reasonable adults into selfish fighting children. Some fights are loud and physical. We all know what those look like. Loud voices, heated arguments, and the occasional throwing of a frying pan come to mind. Some people yell, others slam doors, but all of it is just lashing out in anger.
However, others fights are quiet and manipulative. Sarcasm, witty insults, and intentionally pushing the other persons buttons are all ways people try to win an argument. Other people stew over things their spouse said (or didn't say), which only makes the anger worse. We leave not-so-subtle hints (like refusing to put away his laundry) in hopes of teaching our spouse a "lesson". We think of passive aggressive ways to harm the person we vowed to love the most.
Except fighting and love can't coexist. They just don't go together. Love requires patience, kindness, and putting someone else's needs above your own. But fighting turns your spouse into the enemy. It's me against him, and that's not what a Godly marriage is all about.
Many times when people say they don't fight, other couples will roll their eyes and tell them the honeymoon phase doesn't last forever. It's the big marriage secret no one wants to admit! Apparently, everyone fights!
Except we don't, and I'm willing to bet there are other Godly couples out there who will agree. Real, mature love is not easily provoked. Selfishness is petty and mean, but love is patient, kind, and slow to anger, even when it has been wronged. It's that kind of mature love and commitment that will make a marriage last a lifetime.
That's not to say my husband and I don't disagree. We are normal people, and we don't always see things the same way. If we find a subject that we hold differing opinions on, we just talk about. We listen to one another and try our best to really understand where the other person is coming from. That's not fighting! That's working together and loving one another well.
And when we get angry (because everybody gets angry!), we deal with it in our own hearts. I've learned that when I get angry, I really need to stop and evaluate what I'm feeling.
Am I angry because my expectation weren't met? Then maybe I need to change my expectations. Love isn't about getting what I want but about serving others.
Am I angry because of my husband sinned against me? Then I need to take that brokenness to the Lord and ask him to help me confront it biblically and offer forgiveness.
Am I angry because I feel like I'm being misunderstood or not being cared for? Then I need to sit down with my husband and calmly tell him how I feel, being completely honest about the condition of my heart.
Am I angry because I'm tired/hungry/annoyed/having a bad day? Then maybe I need a few minutes alone to pray and get my heart right with God. Or maybe I need to go for a run or take a hot shower or get a snack.
Once I get over my initial feelings of anger, my husband and I can deal with the actual problem together rather than wasting our time tearing each other down.
When we moved a few months ago, I remember standing in our empty living room and looking at the place where my husband had punched the wall several years before. The hole had been patched and painted, but you could still see the mark in the wall, a reminder of what uncontrolled anger can do.
And on days when my temper is short and frustration runs high, I need that reminder. Walls can be patched, but hearts aren't so easily mended.
That's is why my husband and I have chosen not to fight, because we love one another too much to let temporary frustration cause lasting damage. We value our marriage too much to let careless words and foolish actions tear it down.
We're not special or remarkable or holier-than-thou. We just love each other. A lot.
And in a world where fighting is the norm, someone needs to show Christian couples a different way. We don't fight, and you don't have to either.
So there you have it, that's the truth about my marriage. I'd love to know, what's the truth about yours?