Indifference equals hatred.
Wow. That is a strong statement. But I think it is a true one. Our pastor said this in a message recently and it jumped out at me because while I know our marriage has a lot of issues, indifference is not one of them. Now, I may tell my spouse I feel he is ignoring me, or acting indifferent, but this usually turns into an argument. Which then leaves me feeling like we are failures. Then our pastor said this:
If you argue and have friction, at least it means you care.
At this, my husband nudged me with his elbow and we had a moment together. We felt so successful because we argue. That was a first.
Many people give up because they “just can’t get along.” They divorce because “all they do is fight.” Well, I hate to say this, but what two people can always get along? Adam and Eve had major communication problems and their sons clearly had friction as well, and they were fresh off the press. Fighting and failure is inevitable. What makes anyone think they can escape it?
My kids have asked me why countries have to go to war, and I remind them that they have tiny wars with their own siblings each day, so it only makes sense that if two people fight, then two countries full of people are going to fight. Despite our best efforts, World Peace isn’t going to happen while sinful people are running things.
If you fight, I don’t think that means you have a bad marriage, It means you are human. Now, what you do with those arguments is what really counts. Here is what we have learned, and I am telling you, it has literally saved our marriage.
1. Fight, but repent and reconcile.
There is no way you can have a close relationship without fighting or being rude to each other. The key to moving forward is asking for forgiveness. Don’t obsess over being the one in the right; humble yourself and just say sorry. If your spouse struggles with saying sorry, then model what this looks like. It’s hard to stay angry when someone lavishes kindness on you. Drop your defensiveness and reconcile.
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
2. Fight for your legacy.
It helps to know we are in it for the long haul. Keep in mind that you are fighting for something so beautiful and so sacred. Marriage is a reflection of God’s love for us. It is a mysterious and wonderful union. When you look back, do you see had far you have come? Do you see how you have grown in wisdom and grace? Imagine how it will feel in another ten years or so.
Much of marriage feels like living in the trenches, and we constantly feel the need to protect ourselves. Although our spouse might feel like the enemy, you are in fact, on the same side. I encourage you to love your spouse even when it feels impossible. In the muck and grime, love anyway.
What is the alternative? Give up and find a new, more amazing person to love? You will soon find all of the same frustrations and issues in the next relationship. Commit to working things out. Why? Because you promised to love your spouse no matter what. Through good and bad, feast and famine. You stood there all starry-eyed, and vowed to stay. Besides, what if you leave and find “true love” and then THAT person decides you aren’t quite what they want? It’s a terrible gamble! And wrong.
So when you fight, don’t despair, remember to look back at how far you have come, and look forward to all of the blessings that are heading your way. Fight for your legacy. Fight so you can enjoy the fruit of your labor. Sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, celebrations, and even hardships. All of it is precious. Don’t let current frustration rob you of your future.
As Winston Churchill wisely said,
“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”
I was so excited to tell you that fighting does NOT mean you should quit. If you are arguing, you care!