You Can't Build a Marriage on Eggshells

Some convicting questions for husbands and wives from Justin Davis:

I met with a couple the other day that had lost almost all hope for their marriage. They love each other. They just don’t like each other. They don’t like being around one another. Why? Because all they do is fight.

Been.

There.

There isn’t a more miserable way to live than on eggshells, constantly trying to avoid an argument. Trisha and I still have arguments. We still have conflict. One of the things we’ve learned to do is leverage conflict to draw us closer to one another rather than allowing conflict to put distance between us. Here are 4 questions I ask myself when we are in a pretty big argument:

1. Do I want intimacy or do I want to be right?
Motives are everything. Have you ever been in an argument where you know you’re wrong, but you’ve already argued your point so much that there’s no going back? Pride is the biggest obstacle to intimacy in our marriage. We need to ask this question honestly when we engage in conflict: Am I trying to grow closer to my spouse or am I trying to prove how right I am? That question will bring your motives to light.

2. Am I withholding truth about anything?
Have your feelings been hurt and you haven’t said anything? Did you have expectations that you never communicated, so they went unmet? Do you have a sin or a mistake that you’re hiding behind a defensive attitude? You will never fully resolve conflict if there is withheld truth in your marriage.

3. Does my spouse just need some space?
Trisha and I react in opposite ways when we fight. I like to be all cuddly and affectionate and love it out. She doesn’t want to be hugged, touched or breathed on. If we try to make our spouses react or respond to conflict like we do, we will constantly be frustrated and create more conflict. Sometimes some space in conflict helps everyone see things more clearly.

4. Have I prayed about this?
This question should be the first question I ask, but honestly, sometimes it doesn’t even make it on the list. I can’t imagine how many fights and arguments and harsh words I could have saved if I would have just prayed about what I was upset about or what we were not on the same page about. God’s desire for our marriage is oneness. When we seek him, he has a way of restoring that oneness, even through conflict. Are you willing to pray about what you are so upset about? God has the power to change your spouse. You don’t.

About Jason Hardin

Jason lives in southern Indiana with his wife Shelly and their three daughters. He works with the Charlestown Road church of Christ. Jason has written three books and a variety of workbooks. He's a fan of photography, baseball, mountains, wildlife, BBQ, banana pudding, and coffee. You can contact him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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God Notices the Little Things. Do We?

And [Jesus] sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on." (Mark 12:41-44)

God notices and appreciates the little things. Little things are powerful. They can accumulate to have positive and negative impacts on our homes.

Little things affect our marriages. Most husband-wife relationships that have grown to be strained are not so because of one-time, massive, easily-identifiable "meteors" that suddenly and unexplainably fell out of the marital sky. Most of the significant problems we experience in our marriages can be attributed to the multiplication of the little things---a selfish choice here, rude disregard there. Attitudes produce actions. Actions evolve into habits. Habits undeniably impact life at home. Given enough time, the little things can snowball and cause serious damage at the very foundation of a marriage.

Children who are not taught to appreciate and participate in the little things are set by their parents on a trajectory of ingratitude and self-centeredness. Mom is not the maid. Dad is not the ATM. Children are not entitled to everything their hearts desire, nor should they be treated as immune to sacrifice or free from accountability. When the little things are taken for granted, erosion of the heart is experienced that can eventually lead to devastating consequences.