With our daughters away at camp this week, my husband and I are getting some good one-on-one time together. We went on a date Monday night, and used a gift card we had to eat at Blossom Cafe. The food was delicious!
We’ll be celebrating our 26th anniversary next month. I’ve been thinking lately about how easy it is to become complacent in our marriages. Since I always want to be challenging myself to grow in that relationship, I started reading Gary Thomas’ book Cherish. I’m about halfway through, and have enjoyed learning ways to show my husband that I cherish him.
I also came across this quote (which I’ve shared before, but wanted to revisit) this week.
“I have come to believe that the two most potent peace-killers are the need to be right and the need to assess blame.” ~Donna Otto in Finding Your Purpose as Mom
How often, especially in my marriage relationship, do I feel the need to do one of those two things? Sadly, it is often over small, insignificant matters.
Let’s look at the first peace-killer as it applies to marriage.
Am I willing to get into an argument just to prove that I’m right about something? I’ll let you know that my personality type is such that I don’t like to be wrong (or maybe everybody’s that way?!!) I’m a perfectionist, and tend to think I’m always right. (Yes, I need a reality check.)
I hope I’ve learned over the course of the years that being right is less important than maintaining a loving spirit in the relationship. Even if I think (or know) that I’m right about something, does it really matter? Do I need to dogmatically defend myself just to prove that the story I shared was accurate? Do I need to show him the e-mail I saved so he can see with his own eyes that he put the wrong date on his calendar? There may be certain situations where demonstrating my “rightness” is important, but even then, I can approach him with humility.
I have also on occasion used this peace-killer with my children. But there are times when it’s not worth the argument to prove that they’re wrong about a certain thing. “You could be right,” can be a useful phrase at times, especially in a discussion with a teenager. (Ask me how I know…)
What about the second peace-killer, the need to assess blame?
If something goes wrong, we don’t always have to figure out who’s responsible and deal with it. (I had a great story to share here from the past week where I actually didn’t assess blame when I could have. Then I realized that someone I live with might read this, and feel like I was blaming them! So I’ll share a fictional story.)
Let’s say you’re on vacation and your husband made a hotel reservation. The family shows up to check-in, only to realize the reservation is for the wrong date. (No, I promise this did not happen to us while we were on vacation recently! It’s a made-up example that I have totally worried about happening to me when I’ve been in charge of the trip details!) Is there any point in getting all over for him for this mistake? Does it change anything? And finally, how many times have I messed something up, and been grateful when someone graciously overlooked my error?
All of this leads me to what I believe helps us keep the peace in our homes, not kill it.
That word is grace.
If I want to have peace in my home, I should show grace to my husband and our girls. When we get lost following directions they’ve given or an argument arises over what day we last had spaghetti for supper, there’s no need for me to find fault or set myself up as the one who knows it all.
Just as I often need their grace extended to me when I mess up, so I must be willing to do the same for them. After all, isn’t that what God offers to us so freely? Rather than insisting that I’m right or making sure someone takes the blame for their blunder, I can offer grace. That will be a big step toward filling our home with a spirit of love and peace.