Contrary to what some may think, pastor couples do fight. Once we fought right before he had to leave for church. He leaves before me sometimes because he has to unlock the church and stay behind after church to lock up. This fight was so bad that he assumed I wouldn’t even go to church that day. He usually comes looking for me in the children’s room after the children’s program starts, but he didn’t even stop by. We didn’t see each other until potluck and then we didn’t even get to talk. When he got home after church, I asked him, “Why didn’t you come looking for me in the kids’ room?” “I assumed you wouldn’t come to church.” It was actually really funny and we laughed about it. Details of that fight and the resolution might show up in a different blogpost.
I recently had a fight with my husband. Sometimes it gets intense. I can’t even remember what we were arguing about, but after we had resolved everything and we were both appreciating each other again I told him, “I could have let that issue go. I could have just ignored that it was bothering me, but I won’t stop fighting for our marriage.” He looked at me and with complete sincerity said, “Thank you.”
Sometimes it’s easier to let things go than fight about it. Whenever I think to myself that I am just not going to care anymore, I realize that I am settling for a mediocre marriage. I’m sorry, but I signed up for marriage because I want it to thrive. Now, before you think that I nitpick about everything because I want to have a thriving marriage, please know that as much as possible I try to differentiate between things that actually bother me about our marriage and family and things that just annoy me. I let things like dirty laundry on the floor and dirty dishes pass. Things that take away from my and our family’s identity, values and dignity are things that I will put up a fight for. My husband’s a great husband and father, but sometimes, we both need a little push from each other to make our marriage thrive. I need his loving assessment just as much as he needs mine. Sometimes, those “loving assessments” leads to not so loving situations, scenarios, events or, in other words, fights.
My husband and I both know that conflict and fights are inevitable in our marriage. (There are some households where the spouses never yell at each other. That is awesome. However, never yelling at each other and having your issues resolved are not synonymous. Maybe you have found ways to resolve all of your differences without letting emotions get in the way. Please, comment below and tell me how you do it and if your spouse feels the same way you do.) We also know we want to invest in each other so that we WANT to live with each other for the rest of our lives. I don’t want to be wishing he would somehow disappear in the near future. Honestly, I could overlook the problems in our marriage, but I can guarantee that I wouldn’t be happy with the man. Remember, for me, happy wife means little strife.
Here are some reasons why we should make those inevitable fights work in our favor.
- We have to resolve the issues that eat at us so we can look at each other with greater love than when we looked at each other on our wedding day. Honestly, my husband and I have gone through some incredible conflicts, but I love him more today than I did on our wedding day and that is probably because of the fights we went through together and resolved together.
- With each fight comes a deeper understanding of this incredible person that we promised to be with forever. Fights bring up emotions and issues that may not be related to our spouse at all. Some of our problems go back to our parents, childhood, education and work. Fights bring out a dimension of our spouse that we may not have known otherwise.
- Our children can learn that fights and anything negative in life can be turned around for the good. I have never seen my parents fight and my parents are incredibly in love. They did fight, just not in front of us. I was hoping my children would never see my husband and I fight, but they already have. I was surprised in our marriage when we fought because I thought happy homes do not fight. Of course, the frequency of fighting determines where you would fall on the happiness scale, but I was generally happy. When we fight in front of our children, I want them to know that even though fighting is bad, we want to use these fights to become better and closer family members. I want them to learn conflict resolution. But hopefully, they won’t see us fight in front of them ever again. Wishful thinking, maybe.
- After our fight is resolved, there is great adult activity that goes on afterwards. Make the most of it.
This past weekend an elderly gentleman stopped at my table after hearing my husband give a sermon. He told me, “When he was preaching, I could tell he really loves you.” I should have just smiled and said, “Yes, we love each other so much,” but my personality didn’t allow it. I said sarcastically, “What?! We were fighting so much this past Christmas break. Whatever.” Of course, people around me laughed, but this man says, “It’s good that you fight. It’s better than being quiet and not speaking to each other.” This gentleman has been married for over 40 years and he loves his wife so much. I think he knows what he’s talking about.
The conflict can be intense, but the resolution is key to making this negative aspect of marriage work for us instead of against us.
Fight for your marriage and for your family.