Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. — Philippians 2:4
He is standing his ground. She is standing her ground. Neither will budge. He says that he is right and she is wrong. She says that she is right and he is wrong. Sadly, they get no where. They are in what Dr. Emerson Eggerichs calls “The Crazy Cycle.” (LoveAndRespect.com) In Chapter 12 of The Love Dare it says, “Stubbornness comes as a standard feature on both husband and wife models. Defending your rights and opinions is a foundational part of your nature and make-up. It’s detrimental, though, inside a marriage relationship, and it steals away time and productivity. It can also cause great frustration for both of you.” (p. 56)
So given this stand-off of wills, what is a couple to do? One of them will have to be willing to give in. Which one? It’s usually the more mature of the two—the one who is willing to say, “You have some really good points. I’m sorry that I was not listening carefully or seeing them clearly. Let’s talk about it.” This new attitude of loving cooperation can make all the difference in the world, and save your relationship from more bitter confrontations as issues tend to compound.
What prevents us from being submissive to each other like this? You might guess selfishness, given the many times that has come up, but today it is pride demonstrated in stubbornness. Wisdom and love would have us change our ways to take the time to respect our spouse’s opinion, and be willing to yield. It’s possible that we’re not even talking about compromise here, but actually putting their preference first.
Can you see how stubbornness can be especially detrimental during deployment? Email and cell phones are great—even webcam—but with such unpredictable means of communication it is ten times more (maybe twenty times) difficult to resolve conflict. At a distance, so many things can be blown out of proportion. Little things can become big by lack of resolution . . . and big things can become little by being ignored—thus increasing the frustration. Being willing to listen and ask good questions—and to give in to the other in an area of disagreement, will reap tremendous rewards in terms of a mature understanding of each other and the ability to move on. By doing this, you are demonstrating love. It is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength and maturity.
Here is today’s dare during deployment: Choose to let go of one thing that you and your spouse are in disagreement about. Tell them by phone or email that you want to put their preference first.
Here are Scriptures to encourage you in truth:
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. — James 3:17
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. — Ephesians 4:2
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. — Ephesians 5:21
Kendrick, Stephen and Alex, The Love Dare (Nashville: B & H Publishing, 2008)