What kind of fight are we engaging in when we disagree with our spouse? Are we fighting the right battle?
I went from peaceful to an ugly kind of angry in under 30 seconds. It was a beautiful Sunday morning. The coffee had just dripped into the pot, and I was getting ready to pour myself a large mug full. Then, my plan was to snuggle under a blanket on the couch and spend some time reading my Bible and praying.
That’s when the preacher came downstairs, obviously upset, and said there had been a mixup in communication, and we were going to have to leave a half an hour earlier.
“I don’t see why we have to leave early, just because they didn’t communicate well!” I said. Then I set down the full cup of coffee I had just poured and went, in full pout, to get in the shower.
(In truth, I had plenty of time to drink the coffee, but my inner three-year-old wanted to be seen.)
The mature, God-fearing side of me stood back in horror. “What in the world was THAT!” I said to myself.
A bloody internal battle ensued, as I stood in the shower.
I had been spending a lot of time thinking about a verse from the Bible recently, and here was a real-life opportunity to apply the truth of it:
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder…”
(James 4:1,2a ESV)
Oh yeah, I had just about murdered that man with my tone of voice and my abandoned coffee cup.
As hot water ran down my face, I refused to allow myself to blame my anger on my husband or on those who had not communicated well.
I took a hard look at the real issue: I had not wanted to be rushed. I had not wanted someone else’s agenda to interrupt my own.
Ah, the truth.
I took ownership of what I was feeling. My anger was because I didn’t get what I wanted in the moment.
I looked ahead at the morning and knew that if something miraculous didn’t happen in the shower, I was going to be punishing that man emotionally for the next few hours. He was going to pay for thwarting my desire for a leisurely morning.
So I defected.
Leaving the side where I was fighting and stabbing to get my own way, I went over to the other side, where the Spirit of God was fighting to get me not to kill my husband.
I found God and asked, What is it we’re fighting for over here?
We’re fighting for what is best, he said, with a sword in one hand.
What? I said. I could hardly hear him over the sounds of engagement.
We’re fighting for what is best! he yelled over the fray.
What is best. What is best. I had to get my head turned around.
Kindness, thoughtfulness, humility, graciousness. I was going to have to apologize. Worse than that –I was going to have to apologize and then drop it.
Did I mention this was a bloody fight? I did not want to apologize. I wanted to be right and to make that man suffer. (Except that’s not really what I wanted. You know what I mean? That’s not really what I wanted.)
So I got out of the shower and said, “I’m sorry.” The man forgave me. We had a beautiful morning, and I did not return to my anger.
A moment of silence, please –to commemorate the hill I died on, in defense of all that was good.
When your man makes you mad, what side do you fight on?
Christy Fitzwater is a writer and pastor’s wife living in Kalispell, Montana. She has a daughter who is married and a son in college. Christy writes to help people know God, and you can find her new book about becoming blameless on Amazon. Or follow her devotional blog at ChristyFitzwater. You can follow Christy on Instagram here!