We’ve all had those moments in our marriage where it seems like everything is perfectly synchronized.
It’s like a beautiful song; everyone is on the same wavelength; hubby understands everything we’re saying, both of you are on the same page about everything; intimacy is amazing and you’re marriage feels like it’s thriving on every level.
And then the inevitable conflict happens.
Unmet expectations, lazy and or harsh communication, too little time in the Word and with Jesus and voila, back down to the path of frustration we go.
Reality of marriage
I laugh thinking about this, but in our first years of marriage, I use to believe that I could avoid conflicts. Seriously. I thought that if I did everything right, then Ryan and I wouldn’t ever have any “real” problems and we’d be the “perfect couple.” (Oh silly, naive, young Selena.)
Quickly realizing the impossibility of this belief, I felt vulnerable and ill-equipped in how to handle conflict with Ryan.
It’s funny, you think that when you get married you will magically change into the perfect/patient spouse who automatically becomes super understanding, dotingly supportive, and knows how to lovingly answer and resolve anything, come what may.
Ever heard the old saying: wherever you go, there you are? Welcome to marriage.
We take ourselves, and all of our weaknesses and default responses into marriage.
Responding out of anger or pride was my default. Often yelling when it came to a boiling point – these were my communications tools.
Needless to say, when Ryan and I were not on the same wavelength, it was difficult for us to communicate and figure out how to get back on the same wavelength.
Getting back on the same wavelength
How do we resolve conflicts in the Frederick household? After a few frustrating moments (Ryan used to call me the Hulk, not even kidding), we would often take a breather and get back to Jesus.
Going back to the cross; hearing and receiving the message of the gospel as so beautifully written in Romans 5
“6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
How could I respond harshly, even when I was “right,” while Jesus responded so lovingly and generously when we were so wrong?
Could I really harbor bitterness and not extend grace and forgiveness when it’s by grace I’ve been saved? (Ephesians 2:8)
There is no way that I could serve Jesus and be unloving and unkind to my husband.
Responding and communicating in love
What other response could I have towards Ryan during times of conflict other than one full of love? (Ephesians 4:15)
When God’s love is our motivation, our intentions change and expectations are shifted. I’m no longer seeking to be right, but I want to communicate and work through the conflict with Ryan in order to better understand him and the situation.
Humility seeps in, and we begin moving towards each other and getting back on the same wavelength.
When God’s love is my motivation, I’m free from holding onto the burdens of resentment, bitterness and anger. Christ has set me free from that and I am now free to communicate to Ryan in love – to ask, in earnest, what is really bothering him; to seek forgiveness from him and or to simply stop allowing sharp words to come out of my mouth.
The good news of the gospel does this to us.
It get’s us back on the same wavelength; showing us how to communicate by responding to our spouse in love like Christ.
Now, I don’t want to minimize anyone’s pain. We understand that this is not an easy task and for some readers, who may have experienced abuse, infidelity – this task may take some professional help, but the Bible is clear about our response: forgiveness.
His unfailing love
God’s love is disarming, empowering, redeeming and sanctifying all at the same time.
It brings life to areas of our marriage where we feel like only death exists. His love brings hope to seemingly hopeless situations.
By His grace we get opportunities to respond more like Him, through the high mountain tops and the lowest of valleys.
His presence never leaves us.
Sometimes the best thing we can do is sit and just receive from Him. To be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10); and remember who He is despite our circumstances, despite our own shortcomings.
Intimacy is not end game
Hopefully while you read this last part you aren’t feeling the bait and switch.
I want to be clear that intimacy is one of the blessings from our gracious God when our marriage is centered on him: intimate communication, intimate connection, and of course, intimate (amazing) sex. While intimacy is a great and worthy aspect of a healthy marriage, it’s not the endpoint or the reason we’re committed to the covenant of marriage. We are here to bring glory to God and we aren’t pursuing intimacy for intimacy’s sake – this would be idolatry.
When we are on the same wavelength and in harmony with the way He created our marriage to be, intimacy happens naturally.
And this kind of intimacy happens on all levels; from the heart to the mind to the body.
Lifting our eyes and taking a 10,000 foot view, true intimacy is a result of both of us pursuing our Savior first. Human intimacy is best when it is birthed in heavenly intimacy.
When I am sitting in God’s presence, His redeeming, saving, and transforming presence – that is when I’ve found I’m truly able to love my husband best.
Have you heard of the The 31-Day Pursuit Challenge?
Every marriage begins with passion, purpose, and pursuit, but few stay that way. That’s why we wrote Husband in Pursuit and Wife in Pursuit Together, they make what we’re calling the 31-Day Pursuit Challenge. Couples are encouraged take the challenge together. We’re already starting to hear stories of transformed marriages! Are you up for the challenge?