When you give someone your heart, whether a trusted soul, a significant other, or a spouse, those people hold the greatest power to hurt you. All of a sudden their words and actions have way more weight than what anyone else’s do.
When I started dating my wonderful husband I knew I had to learn to learn to become a good “fighter” because I knew my words and actions would truly affect him. In past relationships I used to just bottle frustrations up until I exploded and the had the fight of the century. My other route, I would be super passive aggressive and either give the silent treatment or use the the famous women’s line “you know what you did wrong” (which now makes me cringe when I hear it uttered from anyone’s mouth).
I knew from the start that we had to set the right “culture” for our relationship. We needed to set standards of what was acceptable and what was not (more on that in a future blog post). I needed to know his needs in those frustrating moments and how I could be there to comfort, support, and love him in those moments while trying to work out an issue.
I felt like there was so much to learn to cultivate the type of relationship I wanted, so I turned to books and the wisdom of my closest circles. Then in all my research and reading I found two of the most encouraging steps to fighting… Let me explain.
A) I am a SAFETY NET to the people I love. This means that no matter what my friend or husband tells me, I am to react to it love and kindness (even if I have to brace myself and take a few deep breaths). For example if your husband admits he fantasizes over sexual image (or breaks any boundary you have) or if a family member says something that feels offensive, you react in a way that displays love, forgiveness and emotional safety. This doesn’t mean that there is not natural consequences, new boundaries, positive confrontation, or a deeper discussion that takes place, but it means that the relationship revolves around forgiveness and calmness. My relationships must revolve around loving, accepting, and forgiving (stole this way or life from my church)… This creates a culture of openness, trust and honesty in your relationships.
B) Now that the problem is out there, I have to fight with urge to fix the PERSON. I want to fix my husbands flaws, then I realize that I didn’t marry a “fixer’ upper” but an imperfect person that I have a perfect connection with. Billy Graham’s wife said it perfectly: “It is not my job to make Billy holy (perfect), it is my job to love him.” When I feel loved and accepted, I want to step up my game and show the same love and dignity my beloved shows me. I need to believe my most loved will react the same. So now it is time to team up AGAINST the problem. It is not me vs. you but WE vs. THE PROBLEM. My friend/spouse is not the enemy. When we make people villains or look at them as problems, we easily make a dangerous hole in the relationship and create room for bitterness and unnecessary hurt. Instead, we need to sit down and come together and talk it out and come up with a plan if necessary.
These two simple concepts I have had to jackhammer into my head so that when these tough moments come, I react the way I have planned and not out of the emotions of feeling in the moment. Feelings are fickle but love and kindness always win.