Dear Newlywed Wives,
During disagreements with your husband, you probably want “your way” sometimes. Probably a lot of times.
I know this, because I want “my way,” too.
Maybe you want pizza for dinner instead of Chinese, you want to vacation at the beach instead of the mountains, you want to watch Love it or List it instead of baseball, you want to do Christmas at your parents’ house instead of your in-laws because it’s much more comfortable for you, you want to paint the room “Fawn Brown” instead of “Charcoal Grey” because who wants a room painted with a name like “Charcoal Gray?” You like the name James instead of Matthew for your future child who isn’t yet in the works, you want to buy a new piece of furniture to make your little house a home instead of a new remote control for the TV with the spending budget. You don’t want a budget, but he wants a budget. You don’t want to clean the litter box, because you did it last night.
You want “your way” a lot of times because you are human, and your husband is human, too, so a lot of times he will want “his way.”
Clearly, this will create tension.
My husband and I are very different people (praise God!) We balance each other out and we love our differences. I am so thankful for how Michael’s logic and even-keeled head brings my anxious heart to a steady beat, and he loves the way my creative mind and sensitive heart create fun and warmth in our lives.
But there have been times in our 1 year and a few months of marriage when our differences have caused us to want very different things. Then, we have disagreements. Arguments.
Our conversations during these times can start to run in circles because neither of us is budging and Michael gets tired because I like talking and analyzing situations WAY more than he does and then I start to get frustrated (Why doesn’t he understand where I’m coming from?! Let’s talk about this for another 5 hours until I get my way, please.)
Fellow Newlywed Wives, I was given a piece of advice from a wise woman married much longer than we at this point. Her piece of advice sat in my heart for about a week, waiting for its moment to reappear when I was ready to fully hear it.
God decided I was ready this morning, and I awoke to this piece of advice knocking gently on the door of my heart and I immediately grabbed a pen and my journal.
The advice is this:
“The one thing I wish I’d done better all these years is to be kinder to my husband in our disagreements.”
Are you sure your advice isn’t, “Just keep pushing till you get your way?”
Because during disagreements with Michael, kindness toward him is not usually at the forefront of my mind.
Transparency, folks: getting “my way” is oftentimes at the forefront of my mind during arguments.
But, ah! The freedom, the goodness, in this wise wife’s advice. Not for its ease, by any means. But the goodness in this advice, Newlywed Wives, is rich.
You and your husband will disagree. He will want to do different things with money, you will want to vacation at a different spot than what he has in mind, he will not always understand your feelings, and you will not always understand his.
Yet what God gently impressed on my heart this morning is this:
What matters is not that I get my way, but that I am kind to my husband.
And when I really think about it, at the end of the day with Michael, it’s not things that do or don’t go my way that I remember. Instead, I remember how I treated Michael in the moment. In tense moments. In the moments when I do get “my way.” In the frustrating moments when I don’t get “my way.” If I treated Michael unfairly or with an angry heart, it hurts me later when I remember. And I know it hurts Michael.
I apologize, yes, and Michael is forgiving, but I would much rather choose the path of life initially.
It’s how we treat each other as husband and wife that builds memories, strengthens, blesses, and builds our little family.
It’s not what we decide in a disagreement, it’s how we come to it. Am I giving Michael “his way” in love, or in anger? If I do what he wants in this situation, will I be cheerful about it? Or am I holding this situation nearby as a way to bring up later and get my way then?
Or am I showing my husband grace and sacrifice in love, as The Lord has done for me with His very life?
On “getting our ways,” Newlywed Wives, God doesn’t have a scorecard keeping track of how many times we have wronged Him (Praise Him!), and marriage shouldn’t have a scorecard keeping track of when we did or didn’t get “our way.”
Modeled after our Father’s relationship with His children, marriage should have only opportunities to show grace and love and willing sacrifice. What is sacrifice if it is not willing out of love, or if it is kept track of? (Writing that sentence is more convicting than I would like to admit.)
We will not always give this loving sacrifice perfectly. Again, dear Newlywed Wives, we are human. So are our husbands. They will not do this perfectly, either. Praise God we have Jesus on our side, showering new mercies upon us and our marriages each morning! (Lam 3:22-23).
Praise God Who also knows the deepest joy and ache of sacrifice for those He loves, and Praise Him for giving us opportunities to show sacrificial love to our spouses.
And yet, regardless of who gets their way in an argument, dear Newlywed Wives, regardless of who sacrifices, I urge you in humility as one who makes this mistake too many times, make sure you were kind to your husband.
Make sure you spoke fairly. Make sure you disagreed with a respectful heart toward your husband’s thoughts and feelings. Make sure you spoke words that breathe life and not hurt.
The decision you both come to will be a fleeting moment.
Your words, however, will last.
Make sure, fellow Newlywed Wives, you are kind to your husbands in disagreements.
I will prayerfully ask God to help me do this alongside you, dear friends, as we praise the God who gave the ultimate Sacrifice for us, that we might give the sacrifice of gentle words to the men we love most!
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship…Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:1,10).
Blessings to you and kind thoughts and gentle words,