So the other night, my Wonderful Wife and I engaged in some intense fellowship, which, in case you were wondering, is shorthand for arguing – and it’s even less fun than you might have imagined.
Now, before you start feeling sorry for me, I have to let you know I can usually hold my own with her – but I have to stay on my toes. The problem is, sometimes I win – and that is worse.
“This is hard – very hard.”
A long time ago, long before entering the world of marital bliss, I read an article about conflict in relationships. The article was directed towards men and suggested that the best way to win, was to lose.
This is hard – very hard. For me, for most men, and for men in general. Actually, for almost anyone with a competitive nature, we tend not to back down – especially when we know we are right.
The other night, I think I won our discussion. But if that is true, why did I feel like crap for the next couple of days? Because I hurt the relationship. I valued being right over the relationship. That was wrong and it sucks.
You’ve heard of the hen-pecked man, you may even have referred to a man as being “whipped.” I know a man who says he has two choices, “I can be right, or I can be happy.” Our culture, mostly dominated by men, abhors the idea of losing, of submissive men, and of appearing weak. However, sometimes overcoming the fear of appearances can be a man’s greatest strength. Jesus taught:
- Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
- Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
- Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
These teachings are often misunderstood.
We usually think of a meek person as the wimpy kid who is afraid to speak up for himself and the victim of bullies. But another word for meek is humble. Or, as demonstrated in the life example of Jesus, it is one who possesses great strength, but chooses not to use it.
Mercy is something that is not much in vogue. It is more cool to dominate our opponents and crush them. Again, however, it takes someone who is confident in their strength and abilities – not to mention their self-esteem – to show mercy and compassion to another – especially when it is undeserved. Some would call this grace.
Being a peacemaker is a special skill. In fact, often the one seeking peace is the one who becomes the target of the two needing peace. This is unfortunate because sometimes the peacemaker is trying to be fair, humble, and merciful – but ends up wounded.
So what does all this have to do with marriage, relationships, and scenes of, um, intense fellowship?
A strong man, a wise man, a gentle-man (get it?) will treat his wife with tenderness, gentleness, and humility. He will put the relationship above his own wants and needs. He will put his wife’s needs and desires above his own. He will stand for truth, but not be so adamant about it that he wounds his wife.
I wish I could say I’ve mastered these skills. I haven’t.
I would like to share with you some great tips on how to achieve this in your own relationships. I can’t.
It would be awesome if I could share with you some incredible victory stories. Nope.
However, though I don’t see it while it’s happening, I often can see it in retrospect. That is a step in the right direction – right?