I’m writing this from the raw experience of having tumultuous times in my marriage. If I could describe how conflict resolution works for my husband and me, it would look like SO much work that you would wonder how any resolution could be found. Both of us have very passionate and strong-willed personalities which makes for quite the chemistry experiment (explosion) when we disagree. In terms of an analogy, I think a South Florida rain storm best describes us.
If you have ever been to South Florida for an extended period of time, you’re probably familiar with the afternoon “monsoon” that happens almost daily. It can be sunny and beautiful with hardly a cloud in the sky and then suddenly, seemingly out of no where, billows of darkness roll in . FAST.
And the rain begins.
And it isn’t an “ordinary” rain.
Heavy torrents of water fall continuously with violent rumbles of thunder. You can hardly see past it and driving in it is super scary. Having lived there for several years, I frequently pulled over to the side of the road to wait for the storm to pass. These storms can last anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes before rolling on out as quickly as they came. And just like that, the sun shines bright again.
In my marriage, it can be a sunny day with feelings on “neutral” but then a word is said or something is implied. Maybe an irritation or an unmet need is announced and things start to spiral quickly. Accusations and assumptions turn the defense mechanisms into full gear.
Before I know it, we are in an all out war bringing the best of what we “got” trying to dismantle each other with the intention to be right. We want to be heard in no uncertain terms. Torrential rains descend and violent thunder roars.
It is here that no one wins and nothing is resolved. Unfortunately, much of the past gets revisited and old wounds are re-opened. Inside, our hearts feel like we’ve been struck by lighting as the rain morphs into tears and the thunder turns into silence.
I wish I could say that our storms last only 5 to 15 minutes but sometimes they last much longer as we wait in silence with no resolution or peace. The brief satisfaction that had come from getting that “issue” off my chest, having the last word in the argument or proving my theory, quickly left me feeling sad, empty and regretful.
It’s when I am finally out of words and am left with the silence that I can finally hear the Holy Spirit call me to come. When I am out of my own “resources”, I finally yield to prayer. And I pray….A LOT!
I pray for God to mend the broken places and to heal the heart I have hurt. Even though “I ” may be hurting myself and feel justified in those feelings, I pray for the Lord to comfort my husband, to love on him, and cause him to forgive me. I pray for the Lord to erase the careless words I have spoken in anger. I ask the Lord to help me forgive and heal. God always steps in and starts to smooth the way. ALWAYS.
Although it doesn’t happen immediately, something definitely begins to happen when I pray. It starts with a humble spirit that doesn’t allow pride to choke out an “I’m sorry”, “Forgive me”, or an “I love you”. These words may not fix everything quickly, but they are precursors to peace. Words are the power tools that fight off Satan and his tactics to destroy the unity in our marriage. We need to be reminded that our battle is really not with our spouse, it’s a specially designed decoy looking to keep us in Satan’s line of fire.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
Marital strife is extra contentious for the Christian. Satan is very vested in breaking up marriages, causing constant strife and having us turn against each other repeatedly. We became one in flesh and spirit when we married so when we fight we are essentially fighting ourselves. You can never find peace fighting against yourself. And if Marriage is the very heart of the home, we can only feel true security when there is peace between us. Peace has a profound effect, not just on us, but our children as well.
We cannot let Satan win here. We are at war and in wars we fight! We must fight for the peace within our marriages.When we ask for the Holy Spirit to help, He always responds and never disappoints. Even in our storm, He starts clearing out the clouds to make way for the sun to shine again.