When my wife and I aren’t getting along, life stinks. I’m not happy. She’s not happy. And I’ve often felt that the easiest fix to whatever we were facing would be for her to just change whatever is bothering me.
Though I’m not proud of it, I’ve probably dreamt of that solution to our struggles a thousand times. But despite my mental vigilance, I’ve yet to experience that (selfish) wish coming true.
While in the midst of conflict, another dream that I’m guilty of having is for the situation to just disappear. And, on occasion, this wish has actually been (temporarily) granted. My wife and I had a fight, we had no significant resolution, and then… life just seemed to move on.
And I’ll be transparent… I liked it when this happened. Peace in our relationship has always been something that I have greatly, greatly enjoyed. And if relational peace somehow found it’s way back into our home, regardless of how it got there, I thought I was pretty happy.
But whenever we have experienced this period of perceived peace, it was as if our ship had hit the eye of a hurricane. Things around us looked calm. Things around us felt calm. I thought we had moved to a pretty good place. But then, the waters shifted slightly, our ship was pushed from it’s position, and we quickly hit waves that felt as high or higher than any we had previously faced.
It took me a long time to understand why this would happen. My every natural instinct would tell me to go around whatever relational conflict we were facing. So why did following that instinct continually lead us to places in our relationship that were anything but enjoyable?
Because God knew the relationship that my wife and I were desiring couldn’t be found in the direction we were headed. The storm kept getting worse because He was trying to tell me to change course. He knew that relational greatness could only be found through the conflict, rather than on a path that circumvented it. He knew that the only path that led to what we wanted (and He wanted) was straight… through… the middle. And the reason is this —
God uses conflict to reveal what He wants me to change.
This feels absolutely crazy to my natural self. When we’re in the midst of struggle, looking more closely at it is the last thing in the world that I want to do. But conflict is often God’s tool of choice for illuminating the path to relational success.
So — despite my natural tendencies, despite my deep resistance, despite my strong dislike — through has now become my path of choice.
The next time my wife and I experience conflict, rather than hoping she will change, rather than wishing it will somehow go away, I’m going to walk my stubborn feet straight to the mirror and ask God what, in me, needs to change.
This choice is not easy. This choice is not fun. But…
God’s best always lies… on the other side of through.
All my best,
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