It’s OK to “fight” – learning how is what matters.

19 Jun

My husband was recently telling me that he heard on a Christian radio station someone sharing that “every good marriage should have a good fight every now and then. People that say they never fight are either lying, or withholding.”

Before everyone gets all up in arms with me – because I know most of my readers agree with me on respect and submission, let me explain why I actually agree with that statement AFTER some clarification.

First of all, I have been WAY too hard on myself for the last two weeks. A lot of the “stepping on the spin cycle and not being able to get off” came from self damnation that “I should know better” and “how dare I think/talk/act like that with all I’m learning about respect” and “this shouldn’t still be this hard.  Surely I should just easily be pleased with how he thinks, feels, acts by now and not even care at all if we disagree…. in fact, I shouldn’t even disagree if I was a good, submitted wife.”

I don’t think any of that is true.

Do I think you can handle fighting poorly? YES – a million times over – YES!! I’m CONSTANTLY learning how to better show respect, die to self, ditch my pride, tear down idols, gain wisdom, and submit to the spirit and not to my flesh so I can still preserve the unity of my marriage and not think I’m always right or entitled to perfection.

But I think the better statement here is not “learning to never fight” but “learning how to fight appropriately.”

Is it possible for us to ever learn forgiveness, grace, mercy, patience, or trust if we’re never hurt, sinned against, taken advantage of, or mistreated?

Surely we understand what we’ve done to God and how He’s graciously lavished all this upon us. But I don’t think we can learn to show those things ourselves unless we’re given the opportunity. There is a degree of learning to have mercy on a stranger that we can experience no matter what. But it’s another thing entirely to learn how to have mercy on someone who you’re in a very close relationship with and feel like they should NOT have done what they did.

Our spouses will never be perfect, nor will we.  And conflict (which I think is a FAR better word than “FIGHT” so I’ll use that word from now on) is not a bad thing.

The way we handle conflict determines if we are walking in God’s Spirit or if we’re giving into our flesh.  Even two believers can come to a different conclusion about something causing a conflict.  It doesn’t mean if we disagree our spouse is either not walking with the Lord, or we’re not…. sometimes conflict happens just because one person would rather the forks be on the left and the other wants them on the right.  You might be laughing, but tell me you haven’t ever had a conflict with your spouse over something that seems SO silly now, but probably escalated into something awful!

My attention this week needs to be less on beating myself up that we still have some conflict in our marriage, and much more focused on handling the conflict in a way that respects my husband, is submissive to God’s calling for me as a wife, denies my flesh and walks in the spirit, and strengthens and builds my marriage instead of attacking or tearing it down.

If we never have conflict, then that means we’ve both reached perfection or one of us has stopped sharing our ideas, opinions, insights, beliefs, emotions, and expectations.  Because no two people will ever be the same – and having different genders provides for us to see ALL the characteristics of God, instead of only the ones our different genders reveal on their own.

Practical Application:

When conflict arises, don’t immediately feel like we’ve already failed.

Speak gently. Keep my tone of voice in check.

Avoid direct accusations and harsh words.

LISTEN well. Don’t plan out my next sentence without listening fully to his thoughts.

FORGIVE QUICKLY!

Offer grace and mercy for mistakes.

Hug tightly and kiss passionately.  Physical intimacy renews a marriage faster than any words.  That’s why it’s designed to be the glue in marriage.

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2 Responses to “It’s OK to “fight” – learning how is what matters.”

  1. peacefulwife June 19, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    Kayla,

    Thanks for this post!

    Submission NEVER means we have to agree with our men, can’t have our own opinions, or desires or can’t say what we need and want!!!

    Much love to you!

    • Kayla Gulick June 19, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

      Hey April – As much as I “know” that – sometimes I find I’m feeling angry at myself if I get upset because a “good, submissive wife” would just be respectful and understanding and not get her feelings hurt or react on her emotions instead of wisdom, be disappointed because of unfulfilled needs or expectations or be allowed to admit that sometimes her relationship with God isn’t enough to ease all her unmet longings from her husband.

      I know those things are expected to be discussed, in a respectful way – but sometimes it feels like even HAVING those thoughts, feelings, emotions, is wrong and sinful If the standard is to reach a place where those things disappear and never cross your mind anymore as you just joyfully always agree, speak kindly, and don’t entertain disappointment.

      And that’s just where Satan wants us to be…. comparing ourselves to perfection and feeling like no amount of grace can cover how far we have to go.

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