The inspiration behind this blog post began one night last week. I was laying in bed with my husband, about to go to sleep, when he said something that rubbed me the wrong way. I was on the verge of dwelling on it, letting it fester and build up as I often do.
Then, by the grace of God, I began to ask myself these questions. I realized that if I make it a habit to ask these questions of myself whenever I feel offended by my husband (whether it be rightly or wrongly), it would probably prevent many of festering and fights. Some fights or “discussions” (whichever you prefer) are necessary, but these questions should help determine whether it truly is.
I share this with you NOT because I’m a marriage expert. Even though the theme of this blog is femininity and I’m passionate about marriage, I’ve tried to mostly avoid the topic since I haven’t yet been married a year (for one more month!). I struggle with this OFTEN, and I’m writing to myself as much as to anyone else.
I simply share this in the hopes that it will help others in marriage, dating relationships, friendships, family relationships, etc. I believe they can definitely apply to more than just marriage!
1. Is this something that will fester and come out later?
Kyle and I decided at the start of our marriage that we didn’t want to be one of those couples you sometimes hear of who let one tiny issue go unresolved and fester until 50 years into their marriage they erupt and get divorced, realizing the whole marriage was a misery. This decision of ours probably led to bringing up many more tiny issues than we needed to in the beginning. Now, asking this question helps me determine whether it’s an issue worth bringing up. If it’s something I know I’ll struggle to let go, it’s worth talking about – even if it’s tough.
2. Did he intention to actually hurt me?
Regardless of whether he did have a moment of thoughtlessness and be rude, or whether his tone simply led to my misinterpretation, was his primary motivation to hurt me? Almost every time, at least with Kyle, the answer is no. This question alone doesn’t always mean it’s not worth bringing up, because a thoughtless tone can lead to hurt; but many times, the issue is either unimportant or can be resolved in another way.
3. Is there a better time to have brought this up?
Was he (or I) tired, stressed, or in the middle of working on something when I brought this up? No one likes to be interrupted. If they’re busy and focused on something else, it’s harder to quickly respond in a gracious way. Obviously, this is something we all should work on. However, understanding these situations allows us to start transforming ourselves into more gracious people.
4. Could this be fixed my my attitude changing?
Many times, I simply need to trade in the selfishness for graciousness. This has been the biggest aspect of character development I’ve been challenged with since becoming married. Not only is marriage a tool for this process, but Kyle is one of the most gracious people I know. It challenges me to consider whether my own attitude is in the right place before placing the blame on someone else.
Something that has challenged me further to not pick unnecessary fights is a thought I had when reflecting on my lack of spiritual discipline. As I meditated on the thought, it became apparent that allowing ourselves to first be transformed will lead to both the transformation of others and living more naturally at peace with those close to us.
I hope you find these questions helpful! What ways have you found to prevent unnecessary fights in your relationships?
And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5