That first year was marked with what we now consider a string of unnecessary battles. I have to giggle as I write this, as can everyone remembering their first year of marriage, I am sure.
My husband is an early riser, although we have kind of averaged it out now so that we both get up around 6:15. I was in grad school when we got married and so I stuck to no particular schedule. This meant that every morning, when he got up, he would make coffee and feed the dogs.
One day he told me the truth about how that made him feel. He did not want to always be the guy on dog duty first thing in the morning. We had four dogs at the time, so I can see his point. It would, also, be nice to see his wife over a cup of coffee, occasionally, instead of complaining about her miniscule share. To say the least, I was not interested in a discussion involving movement of my sleeping patterns.
So, I basically told him to deal with it. What a sweet girl, I was! I was ready to go toe-to-toe when my husband had put a perfect opportunity for servitude right in front of me. Now I see those as little love nuggets, they are the “gimmes” that speak to his heart. He drops them along the path, and I am considered above all wives when I swoop in and pick them up. At this point in my newlywed life, though, I still needed a translator.
Now we actually laugh at the fact that we would bother to argue over dog food and coffee, but at the time it felt really important. Don’t most of our battles feel really important in the moment?
My response to the situation in our home was not about waking up early or late, though. It was about my heart.
I did not really come to understand this until last year, although I had said it before then. The most obvious evidence of where I am spiritually is how I deal with relationships in my home. The interaction of home life is the litmus test of our heart. It tells us if our faith is genuine, if it permeates our flesh.
1 Corinthians 11:19, “Indeed, there have to be factions among you, for only so will it become clear who among you are genuine.”
It is interesting that factions are independent of peacemakers. Being a peacemaker does not mean that you will not experience discord or factions. One of the greatest points of growth in a home comes from disagreement. A peacemaker focuses on what to do with this disagreement? How should it play out?
Some people will say that the home is the place where they see all of your lumps and bumps, and you don’t have to pretend to be good there. Absolutely, but I have found that I can’t excuse my relational laziness to my poor family because they have the curse of proximity. My husband does not deserve my apathy in return for his needs. I was the one who had to change.
Proverbs tells us that the home is the place to learn wisdom. It is the place to try on the Fruits while in disagreement, because it is safe. When these things are planted at home, we can handle the factions in the world or in the church because we have practiced. God has trained us up. Our hearts are trustworthy because they remember what to do.
Some of the most wonderful times in my marriage have come from sitting with my husband in the early morning, talking and praying over a hot cup of coffee. I can’t imagine not having that time with him. So, it is easy for me to say now, “You were right, babe!”
How do you handle factions in your homes? Any tips?
Father, thank you for allowing factions that bring us near to your Spirit. Bring us before you when we face these challenges, and train us how to disagree in a way that honors you.