I mean, yeah, I knew I had a tendency to overthink things. It could be nothing. Nothing could be bothering him. It could have nothing to do with me. He might just have a headache. But even if he was having a bad day, wasn’t that allowed?
I pondered on my own idiosyncrasies. I thought of my occasional, hormonal outbursts, or how my mood could turn on a dime. I had a knack for worrying, and while I had certainly loosened the reigns of my control-freak persona, I still pulled out the crazy lady on occasion. I had bad days too. I had good days. But wasn’t that what life was? And wasn’t marriage the union of each other’s good and bad days, taking them as they came? Celebrating when it was warranted, but also mourning when it was due?
I had made my monastery vow of silence for maybe five or  minutes, more likely eight, when I decided that was a dumb idea. I had a choice at that moment. I could fight fire with fire, or I could be an adult. I could stay angry, even though I knew not the details of my out-of-proportion wrath, or I could release my frustration. I could feed my offense, or I could offer grace. I could focus strictly on how the situation was affecting me, or I could look at my spouse and how I might give him grace. I could ignore my own faults, focusing intently on his, or I could realistically remember we all have them. I could take an inch, or I could give a mile. I could love unconditionally. Yes, that sounded nice.
I could realize that life wasn’t just about me. How was this situation bothering me? No. Perhaps consider how it was bothering him. Focus on why he wouldn’t tell me what was wrong or pray for him a solution? Stew in anger or rest in love? I could remember he was human, like me, yet love him [as] Jesus did. Yes, that seemed like the right thing.
I reached out my hand and I took his. I didn’t say anything, and neither did he. I squeezed his hand anyway. I made a choice.
The moment passed, conversation picked back up, the storm cloud moved on by, the sun began to shine again, and laughter filled the air.
I never knew the cause of his quiet, the reason behind his silence. I don’t think you always need to. That would make it about me, make it about my desire to know. He was who he was, how he was, and so was I. There was so much good in him, it certainly overshadowed the occasional bad. I loved every part; that was my calling as his wife. I had chosen to commit my life to loving all the pieces, and each day I chose to keep on doing that. Even the most happy marriages aren’t perfect, but we can choose to love beyond that.
We can choose to take offense at every turn, or we can model grace. We can take a splinter of anger and build it into a fence, or we can sweep insignificant sawdust away from our heart. We can remove the plank of offense from our own eye, and we can utilize it better as a bridge to bind us. We can love our spouse like Christ loves the church (which is us, by the way). Satan desires nothing better than to stir marital discord. It’s his voice that whispers in the cracks of a silly argument, building self-righteous anger when it’s not necessary. The devil will show you the faults of your spouse. The Holy Spirit will show you your own. We have the choice of who we will listen to the most.
You have a choice in marriage. You can choose to build fences, or you can choose to build a bridge. You can choose to make yourself the centerpiece of the relationship, or you can choose for Christ to rest there. You can choose to pick apart every action of your spouse, or you can help them pick up the pieces. You can choose to hold a grudge, placing a wedge between you, or you can choose to forgive. When you get married you make the choice to love your spouse, but each day thereafter you must choose the same. Marriage is a daily choice of saying “I do.”
I do promise to love you. I do promise to see your efforts, to hold you when you are weak, to value you above myself, to love you when it’s not easy. I do.
In life, you have a choice, and in marriage, you have a choice each day. The only question is, what will you choose?