Sometimes it’s difficult to admit that you’ve grown in a particular area. Why? Because when you do, you’re also admitting that you needed to grow! It’s hard to look back and see the less-mature person you used to be. But it’s good. It’s certainly better than the alternative; looking back and discovering that you’re still the same!
After 21 years of marriage, I’m happy to report that I’ve grown significantly in one particular area; the need to have “my way.” It’s embarrassing to think about the childish behavior that I’ve displayed in the past. From arguing, to pouting, to sarcastic remarks, I’ve dished out more than my fair share of unpleasantness when things aren’t going my way.
Here are some things I began to notice, after several years of fighting for what I want.
1. The reward, or satisfaction, of getting that thing I wanted was usually shallow and short lived.
2. My behavior, when I didn’t get my way, wasn’t contributing to a healthy relationship with my husband. It’s one of those actions that my mom would call “cutting off your nose to spite your face.” I was willing to treat my husband badly, even if just for half an hour or so, because I didn’t get my way — usually on something very insignificant, like where to eat dinner!
You may be thinking that at this point I made a commitment to stop fighting for what I want.
But you’d be wrong: I didn’t.
Instead, I made a stronger commitment to intentionally fight for exactly what I want.
But it’s easier said than done.
I have to decide ahead of time just what it is that I want. In the heat of the moment, I might think that what I want is a new couch, or one less dog (we only have one if that tells you what I think about having a dog) or getting our own chickens (yep, hubby feels even more strongly about “no chickens” than I feel about “no dogs”!) or any number of other little things. But none of those things are what I want.
I want a husband who can trust me to:
- Respect his perspective,
- Put his needs and the needs of our marriage ahead of my incidental wants,
- Communicate appropriately and respectfully,
- Listen to him and understand his point of view,
- Find joy in the life that I have instead of finding strife,
In summary: Not be petty.
Further, I want a marriage that is:
- Based on mutual respect and a desire for each other’s happiness,
- Continually growing,
- Governed by healthy, godly attitudes and desires,
In summary: Enjoyable and blessed.
These are the things that I must fight for if I stand any chance of having them.
So, instead of fighting with my husband, I have some other fighting to do. In my efforts to get what I truly want I will fight:
I will not buy into the idea that there is a perfect man out there.
I will not accept behavior in myself that is promoted by the world but not by God.
My own stubborn will
I will learn to “let it go,” and see what God will do with my victory over selfishness.
My own pride
I will fight the pride inside that prompts me to choose it over the things I truly want. I don’t need to win, or be “right” to know that I’m a valuable person.
The child in me who wants her way
I will remember that the rewards of acting like a grown-up are much more satisfying than those of getting my way.
I will remember that God is in control, and that He is leading my husband.
Do you need to do some of the same kind of fighting? I can tell you that though it’s not always easy, it’s always worth it.
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