Be the First to Say... I'm Sorry
Quality leadership in my mind is humble leadership. Recently, In my marriage I have done my best, not perfectly, to make it my business to say I’m sorry first.
Marital arguments and disagreements are unfortunately very common. At times they become so frequent that you feel like you never put your weapon away before having to use it again. As a result you may keep your mind loaded with "ammo" that is ready to be used to defend yourself from getting “shot.” This takes your eyes off of loving your spouse as Jesus loves the Church, and puts them on you, your feelings, your need to win. This can start a crazy cycle that can lead to marital frustration, permanent emotional scaring, fear, distrust, and valuable time you cant get back.
I learned I was doing more wrinkling than ironing in my marriage. Instead of cleaning her from the blemishes that life hits her with I was the one causing the blemishes. I started to heed to the wisdom of Ephesians 5:25-27:
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
As a husband It is your job to setup this example/guardrail in your marriage, because there will be moments where your wife will need to do this for you. We all sin and fall short, we need each other. The only way to break the cycle is to never pull out your weapon on your spouse. If you get "shot" take what your spouse says even if it hurts pray about it, fix what you can, and ask people you trust how to handle the rest of it if needed.
It is NEVER fun to fight someone who does not fight back. Eventually, the other person WILL stop fighting. Empathize with your spouse’s feelings because she may just want to be heard. Genuinely apologize for your part in their emotional anguish, anger, frustration, or even disappointment to help build trust in your marriage.
This is where it gets difficult, believe that God has forgiven you for your sin in that case, forgive yourself, and do not seek the forgiveness or approval from your spouse. It will come if you hang in there and ride this thing out. Then pray for your spouse, and in some cases pray with your spouse. This can be the hardest part, let go of your need to be justified because it's not about winning.
Last summer, I fractured my big toe, It HURT, my toe nail even fell off. I was the biggest baby in the world. I was out of work for 3 days. I was on what seemed to be my death bed for like 3 weeks. My wife drove me to the hospital at 2 a.m. when it happened, and I had to get crutches it was horrible. It took eight weeks for my toe to heal, and 4 or months for my toenail to grow back. I was able to walk normally and wear all my favorite shoes again after about 6 weeks.
Finally, the pain was gone right? WRONG! Two weeks later I was helping with a project at my church then out of no where I stepped on a blunt screw. It went through my sneaker and almost all the way through my foot, the same foot! The pain went up my leg, through my spine, tapped me on the back of the head, to let me fully know that I was in pain, again. However, my pain tolerance had gone up. This time I drove myself to the hospital. I went to work the next day and had one of the best days of work ever.
It was not that it hurt any less or the healing time was shorter. In fact, the healing was longer because I had nerve damage, and I couldn’t feel my toes for almost 6 months. Thanks to the prior injury I was mentally stronger than before. If God could take me off of my “deathbed,” keep my foot from falling off, and help my patience while my toenail grew back then surely He would carry me through this trauma as well.
The shots your spouse shoots will hurt, they will take a long time to recover from, but God can and does heal you. As you get shot you really feel the pain that your spouse cause. It also makes you not want to do thing in order to get shot. As you rely on God to heal the wounds of your latest argument, you begin to develop a compassion for your spouse who has just shot you with their words. Your desire to be justified switches from “I need to be heard” to “ I want you to be free to love me again.”
Only seeing Gods forgiveness of you and your sinfulness can help you see that you can tolerate a few shots and still have love for the shooter. You may need to drive yourself to your boys house and get stitched up by some encouragement in Gods word, reading blogs like this one helps too. Seeing my wife in enough pain to verbally shoot, stab, and fight me with her words made me want to just hold her, cry with her, and tell her how sorry I was for hurting her.
This is when I learned Love is always appropriate.