Marriage Mistake #4 – I Fought Fire with Fire

Marriage Mistake 4For years, my husband and I went ‘round and ‘round when it came to conflict.

He would do something that would rattle my chain, and then all of a sudden he’d notice I was being extremely quiet.

So he’d ask, “Is there something wrong, Beth?”

I’d say, “No, I’m fine.” {Short for – “Feelings Inside Not Expressed! ha!}

He would then go into some long “parent-like” discourse about how I needed to be open and honest with him … that I shouldn’t sweep things under the rug … that that’s how marriages are undermined … blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

First of all, just who started that whole “don’t sweep things under the rug” anyway? I suppose that’s opposed to sucking up everything in sight with the suction power of a Hoover comin’ on through!

Neither approach sounded like a great plan to me! But I digress …

I eventually decided to try it his way and I actually told him one day what was wrong.

Unfortunately, I don’t think hearing the truth from me was as freeing of an experience as my husband had imagined it would be! I have to confess—I didn’t mince words. I thought, Well, he did say he wants to know! So I let him know in no uncertain terms!

Up to that point, our conflict dynamic was more like the proverbial “game of cat and mouse.” {Definitely not as cute as the Tom and Jerry version, however!}

BUT …

Once I squared off  with my “claws” exposed, our marriage conflicts turned into fierce battles between two stubborn wills determined to—“take-no-prisoners!” We had gone from one of us fanning the flames of a fire and the other promptly dousing it with denial to …

Fighting fire with fire!

In an effort to “find my voice,” I’d swung like a pendulum from one side, being passive, to the other side, being aggressive.

Granted, there’s always some tendency to overshoot when we are trying to correct a problem. But my attempt at “over-correcting” was just the intensity needed to turn our marriage conflicts into a raging wildfire, burning out of control and destroying all who came near.

I had many years and lessons ahead that God wanted to use to teach me and my hubby about finding that elusive middle ground in conflict. But I will tell you one secret that moved us to the “middle” faster than any attempt to avoid conflict or run toward it …

We had to learn to die to our desires and let Christ’s humility and love soften our hearts and calm the bitter fire that raged—not just in our times of conflict, but in our hearts!

What position do you tend to take in conflicts with your spouse—pursuing conflict or running away from it?

 

What have you learned that has calmed the fires of conflict in your marriage?