Do you find yourself being critical of your spouse?
I don’t mean to imply with this blog that my relationship with Bill is perfect. Far from it. But we do love each other and so we work around our disagreements. For instance, Bill likes to build, and I’ve got a thing about straight lines. I’m like: “That board looks crooked.” “Doesn’t that look off to you?” And like I don’t understand why he has to twist-tie the trash bags and not just tie the top in a knot? He could be offended because I correct him or complain he didn’t do something or other right. But he just gives me that look. You know, the one that says, “Really?”
Boy, what a Nag I am.
Unfortunately, we both are nags. He’s like, “You have a pair of shoes in every room.” “You have a nest of papers and books wherever you sit.”
It isn’t just what we say, but how we say it that creates a battle out of a comment. Our attitudes mean the most.
Many years ago, when Bill was late to work, he would wake up frustrated because he had to rush. I had the alarm clock on my side of the bed and would forget to set it or would hit snooze one too many times. Of course, that made it my fault he was late, and between his frustration and my guilt, it always ruined our day. We had to find a solution. Finally, one morning we woke up late and he was rushing around complaining how I’d let him sleep late again. This time I didn’t defend myself or argue, I just simply agreed.
“I am so sorry, honey. I know you hate it, and I hate it for you. You are right. I’m doing a terrible job at this.” I unplugged the alarm and while he dug a pair of socks out of his dresser, I moved it to his side of the bed and plugged it in. “I know you will do a much better job than me.”
He looked at me and scoffed, but reluctantly agreed. After that, he was responsible for getting himself out of bed. And I must say he did a marvelous job.
I did something similar when our checking account began to overwhelm me. I pointed out he is much more math-minded and organized than me. “I’m such a scatterbrain,” I said with a laugh.
He laughed and agreed. When he took over, and could see where the money was going, we stopped arguing about it and my stress relief was phenomenal. Be aware though, once you give a job away, you can’t take it back unless it is mutually agreed upon. Remember, each of us has skills, talents, abilities to do certain things. Match the job with the person who has the most skill to do that job. If you are both equally matched, do it together, or take turns.
Bill and I know neither of us is perfect. We also know if we want to make each other happy, we can’t be finding fault in one another.
- Choose Your Battles: I mean, is it really important whether you tie or twist the garbage bag? Somethings, you just have to let go. Think first, “Is this issue worth a battle?”
- Don’t keep a record of wrongs. Don’t rattle off a laundry list of past wrongs every time you disagree on something.
- Fight Fair. Don’t put each other down whether you are alone or with others. Don’t Dishonor one another. Allow each other to “save face”. Don’t you hate to be around a couple when one is dogmatic with the other? Recognize what is important to your spouse and respect that. Remember, showing respect is another word for love.
- Give in sometimes. Must you always be right? Must you always win? It’s coping with the little things that help us build trust and love for when bigger things—things maybe worth a battle—arise.
- Don’t enjoy the reward of winning at the expense of your spouse’s feelings. Otherwise, you may win the battle but lose the war.
Over the years, I’ve learned to put away my shoes because I realized how important it is to Bill. And, he now asks me, “Is this straight?” because he knows it will drive me crazy if it’s not. However, I can’t seem to conquer the papers and books I still leave in my favorite spots, but every so often my eyes are opened, and I see what he sees, and I clean up my nests.
We still have some things around our house that are a little off set, but I’ve learned to live with them. One day they will be a treasure, like the scribbling artwork my four-year-old left in my brand-new family album. Today, they are precious to me. And, someday, when I am no longer around to leave books and papers, Bill will remember that quirk. So, we don’t argue, we cherish our differences . . . when we can.
I Corinthians 13:5,6 says, “It (love) does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”
Do you have a special way of dealing with disagreements in your home? Please share with us in the comments section below.
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