I love my wife. My wife loves me. But believe me: we don’t always feel that way.
Like every other couple in the world, we fight. Words spoken or unspoken, actions done or undone; we simply can’t always please each other. Sooner or later, we’ll have to drink the fight that’s slowly been brewing. If you’re like us, you sometimes let the tea bag sit too long, brewing a fight of harshly-tasting words and bitterness.
Occasionally, it can get bad, too. You argue about things that usually won’t matter in a week, say things you don’t mean, and speak to each other in rude and unloving tones.
Often in our fights, Erin and I are unable to resolve the issues at hand before bedtime. Sadly, we sometimes go to sleep back-to-back not only physically but emotionally and spiritually, too. It can feel like she’s not my wife but my biggest enemy.
Maybe this is you and your spouse. Or maybe you’re dating someone and date night can sometimes end in a goodnight fight rather than a goodnight kiss. Here are a few truths to keep in mind if you’re in a Christian relationship:
You’re not alone.
It’s a common occurrence in relationships: every couple fights. On the flip side, I would argue that if you and your spouse (or significant other if you’re single) don’t deck it out every now-and-then, you’re probably not honest about your feelings and not as close to each other as you may think.
Fights are not always “bad.”
Fighting isn’t always a bad thing; not resolving a fight is. Godly and loving couples are ones that can be brutally honest when needed. Throughout the bible, we see countless people express to God their anger and dissatisfaction with Him. And guess what: God allowed it. No, our thoughts and feelings may not always be correct. But sometimes they do need to be expressed rather than kept inside. After awhile, the unspoken thoughts and feelings build up and explode into fights that are bad, even relationally fatal. How can we know when to vocalize our thoughts and emotions and when not to?
The fight isn’t always worth having.
Pick your battles wisely. Not every thought in your head and feeling in your heart needs to come out of your mouth. When debating whether or not to vocalize thoughts and feelings to your significant other, ask yourself these two questions:
- Is my heart in a loving place?
- Am I vocalizing this issue/concern to benefit and strengthen my significant other and/or our relationship or am I simply trying to “win” the fight?
Your spouse or significant other is not your enemy, sin is. For me, some of the fights I have with Erin have nothing to do with her and everything to do with my sin. God gives us spouses for the sake of edifying and encouraging one another. I know and constantly have to remind myself that Erin is not my worst enemy but my best support and encourager (aside from the Holy Spirit, of course). God’s intention for a couple’s fights is not for the couple to kill each other physically, emotionally, or spiritually; it’s for the couple to help each other kill the sin in their own hearts and become more and more like Jesus.
This is love, that in our fighting, we lay down our pride and agendas for the sake of our significant other’s growth in Jesus.