I have mentioned this before, but Paul and I are definitely not that sweet couple who doesn’t ever fight. And actually, we fight more than any other couple I know. I used to feel a lot of shame for this and I would question what was wrong with us. Why can’t we be perfect and cute like everyone else on social media. Ohhhh the comparison game. Get out of it RIGHT NOW- not worth it. Everyone has something. We are both stubborn, full of fire & fight, passionate, and strong willed. Daddy didn’t raise no passive lady, that’s for sure… but sometimes I wish I just was a little less opinionated. Can I get an amen? 😉
First off, if this resonates with you- allow me to say ‘congratulations, you’re not alone in this!’ Second, I believe Paul and I have gotten a lot better the last three years of marriage and nearly 6 years of being together. Third, fighting isn’t a bad thing, but how we choose to disagree is everything.
When we were told through dating and into engagement “choose your battles”, it started to get redundant and even a little meaningless. What the heck does that even mean? Sure, yeah… pick your battles. As if we can control what does and doesn’t upset us…. That’s exactly what I want to speak into. We don’t always get to control what does and doesn’t upset us. Or, if we are super honest, we NEVER control what initially does or doesn’t upset us. But, the more we dig into Jesus and ask to love more like him, the better our responses to disagreement get.
Dare I even say, less often?
When I am made aware of petty expectations I can have for Paul- or people in my life in general- I ask for God to take away the care I have about such menial things. Do I always rock at this? Heck no. Do I often say something when I wish I didn’t? Yes… But the more I pray to not care, the more I can feel the weight of stupid burdens lift off my shoulders.
Picking your battles means biting your tongue AND not letting your spouse know you’re biting your tongue. “This really makes me mad, but I am not going to fight with you about it” doesn’t count as picking your battles. (It took me about two years to learn this.) In graciously and patiently picking your battles, ask God to change your heart entirely about things that shouldn’t matter and for him to open your eyes to what does.
Ask yourself, “Is what I am upset about really just an issue with something intruding on my personal comfort zone?” Oy, that question might be one that stings a little. Because, let’s be real, shoes in the floor isn’t a sin… my response to them ruining my comfort zone and clean home is what often is.
But, other times we are called in love to speak life into dead situations and paths that lead to destruction.
Galatians 6 speaks to gently correcting without selfish desires. When we approach our spouse with a humble heart, truly wanting to push them toward being more like Christ (not just to keep our house clean), then it’s a battle worth taking on with your spouse. I am just gonna lay it out there, Paul is WAY better at picking battles than I am.
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” 6:1
Gently restore- I love this wording. This means when picking our battles, ask yourself the question “Is what I want to enter into battle about something that is sinful or causing harm to my spouse and/or others in their life? … Is what I am bothered about by them something that is harming their soul and in need of restoration?”
This verse means not only “be careful”- as in make sure you don’t get caught in the same sin, which is what I think most of us register that as- but it means also simply be careful not to be sucked down to sin in order to be heard. We are called to approach the confrontation with a humble and gentle heart. If we approach it in anger, then it’s a lost cause from the start. I am the WORST at blowing up. I hold things in, think of all the ideal situations and act out my responses in my head that I want to give, and then in the role play… I burst. Communication, openness, honesty, and humility are the key to healthy arguments and confrontation.
Taking this further,
this isn’t just applicable in marriage. (Obviously, Paul the apostle wrote it and was never married.) It’s applicable to relationships in general. Social media doesn’t count as a tool for “restoration”, hate to break it to you. It means when we want to be heard, instead of posting that rant on Facebook or passive aggressive post, we are quiet. We seek out understanding one on one. We gently look to sharpen each other. If you’re offended by correction, then perhaps you ought to take a step back to look at why.
Whether married, dating, single, a best friend, a daughter, a son… whatever it is, we have to decide daily what battles we want to take on. Approach them gently, whatever it is you might be facing.
Love y’all. SO much. Have a happy Wednesday evening. 😉 I have had… a day to say the least, and I have had to gently approach situation after situation. (All while silently flipping out- but that is beside the point haha.) God is constantly working my heart, refining me, shaping me, and molding me into the woman he has called me to be. The process will never end. I am real thankful for that bit of truth.
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All Photos Taken by Cottonwood Road Photography For The Cake by Hannah