As our twelfth anniversary drew near I went online and made a reservation for an overnight stay at a B&B on Lake Michigan. I did everything to plan a perfect weekend, and when the time was right I let him in on my scheme.
When I told Chris about my plans he was just as excited as I was, and on a golden fall afternoon we set off on our little adventure.
From the moment we arrived at the B&B we enjoyed everything if had to offer: a view of the lake, a fireplace by our bed, a Jacuzzi in the bathroom. We ate dinner at a cozy upscale restaurant and followed it up with a sunset stroll along the beach.
As Chris and I walked we held hands and laughed about some of the stupid things we’ve done over the past twelve years.
“Do you remember the time share presentation we went to in order to get a free digital camera?” Chris said.
“Yes,” I said with a giggle. “That thing was so crappy, I don’t think we ever used it. Remember how we got into a huge fight the first week we were married because I thought you would take me out to eat every night so I wouldn’t have to fix supper?”
“Yes,” he said rolling his eyes.
“We should make a list of the Top-Twelve Stupidest things we’ve done as a married couple,” I said.
We never made a complete list but as we continued to walk I realized with a moment of clarity that the absolute stupidest thing we’ve ever done as a married couple is wasting time being mad at each other.
I know all couples fight, and argue, and get mad at each other. When it comes to knock-down, blowout fights, we are just like everyone else and perhaps, in their own way, confrontations like these serve their purpose…but in the long run? What do we ever gain by putting ourselves at odds with the one we love? With the one we’ve chosen to share life with?
I remember a scene from Little House on the Prairie where Caroline Ingalls gets her petticoats in a wad with Charles. By the end of the episode they’re lying in bed and Caroline turns to Charles with a complete change of heart and says, “Oh Charles, it is such a waste, being mad at you.”
With a fresh perspective Caroline was able to take her eyes off whatever their grievance was and see it for the relatively small issue it had been all along. In accordance, she saw her husband for the man he was and realized how silly it was to continue being angry with him.
Some of the best marital advice I’ve ever been given is to not let anything destroy the closeness you feel between you and your spouse and in recent months I’ve taken this to heart. It’s a nugget of wisdom that sticks in mind whenever I’m tempted to unleash on Chris.
In a recent argument I couldn’t understand, for the life of me, why Chris saw things the way he did, why he made decisions, involving me, that I didn’t agree with, why he just couldn’t see things my way. But at the same time I realized that ultimately it didn’t matter. The issue itself simply wasn’t worth jeopardizing the closeness between us. So I let it go, and I’m glad I did, but this hasn’t always been the case.
There have been plenty of times, and I’m sure there will be plenty more, when I’ve let my temper get the best of me. When I’ve failed to protect the closeness, when I’ve failed to show grace and see his heart in a matter.
And it always comes back to seeing his heart, to remembering who he is (a mighty man of valor), whose he his (God’s and mine), and why I love him so (because even when it doesn’t seem like it, even when I don’t feel like it, I do love him, with all my heart, I do).
It is this, this seeing of his heart, of my heart for him that makes me fight, not against him, but for the closeness. For the love. Makes me fight against the temptation to waste time in anger.
So how about you? Who are you wasting time being mad at? A friend? A family member? A spouse? Whoever it is, whatever has caused your anger, do what you need to do to stop wasting time, to restore the closeness.
Say you’re sorry…
Take a long look at their heart…
And choose love.
Always and only, love.