How much easier would things be if I had listened to the whisper of the Holy Ghost instead of the screaming of my heart? Once again, I knew the correct way to diffuse the situation that arose within my family, but I was too tired to choose it. I, now, have to grit my teeth and work hard to mend fences that were torn down with a few curt words.
The argument this weekend wasn’t even a very big one. It was just a thousand tiny little annoyances that compounded into one big mess. We were quarreling just to quarrel. Neither of us would back down or give ground until the snowball of subtle irritation grew to an avalanche of outright hostility. Neither of us was completely right or completely wrong, but stubborn pride stood in the way of making up. It was ridiculous!
Now, we are forced to clean up the aftermath of an epic storm that should have been a minor one. How could I have handled things better?
Well, as Solomon says in Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Next time, I should swallow my pride and not get so defensive. Isn’t that the case so much of the time when marital conflicts arise? Our human nature tells us to defend our position and be heard no matter the consequences. We can get so wrapped up in having to be right that we lose sight of what’s really important. Neither side can listen to the other without interrupting to inject their own perception of the truth. Conflict resolution decreases as the volume of the voices increases, screaming and the angry silence that follows only hardens our already hurting hearts.
Next, I could follow the advice of Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: “In your anger do not sin; Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” Instead of shouting the next profane thing that comes to mind perhaps I should leave the room for a moment, pray, and come back when I have regained that elusive fruit of the spirit – self-control. Sounds like something a mature Christian would, should, and ought to do.
That leads to one of my least favorite verses, mainly because I find it so convicting: James 3:5 “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.” When will I learn that getting loud when I am angry is never a good thing? In the back of my mind, a little voice keeps nudging me with the truth that he said some really hurtful things also so I was right in my comebacks, but the conviction in my heart tells me that isn’t true. My reaction was my own and I can’t justify it. Turning the other cheek is where the rubber meets the road and my maturity in Christ becomes apparent.
Once upon a time, I would have stewed over the argument and brooded for weeks, but this time I am determined to confront the enemy of discord early. Too many times the sun has set on our anger, I think it is finally time to grow up. I’m not going to let one bad weekend develop into a month of silence again. God has convicted me that I need to work at my marriage without ceasing. How can I be the woman God is calling me to be if I don’t prioritize my relationships correctly?
This fight is over; I feel a little chagrined at my behavior. Next time, I’m determined to react without pride or resentment. I will react in love. My family deserves nothing less.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, and a part-time basket case who wants to be a full time writer.