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Being a peacemaker in your marriage
By Jessica Andrews
I was so excited when Jenna asked me to write about this topic, but naturally that was the weekend we got into a huge fight!
What is that? It felt like I hadn’t even finished typing my thoughts on being a peace maker in my marriage that I was picking a fight with Kevin.
I wonder if you’re like me and see the state of our world and feel a bit uneasy. There’s a lack of peace all around us. We need to do better as people to really see one another, to value each other, to seek to understand, to listen, and keep listening. I feel like I want my household to be a little microcosm of love that can make the world a better place. Some days it seems like we have such great rhythm and then other days it feels like it’s all on fire: the kids aren’t listening, the baby’s screaming and mom and dad are super annoyed. It’s like an atmosphere full of tension that produces a volcanic eruption.
Kevin and I have been married for nine years now, and honestly it’s getting better all the time, but oh my gosh…it’s so hard.
I don’t know if you’re like me, but I got married thinking we were exactly alike. We love the same music, we both grew up pastors kids so we had a similar upbringing, we both love food, we both are compassionate and desire justice.
What could go wrong? We agree on every topic, right?
I remember one of our first political debates and realized we saw a topic QUITE differently.
It hurt me, and it confused me, ‘Who is this stranger I married with these ridiculous opinions?!, Clearly I need to show him the error of his ways.’ I’m 100% sure he was trying to convince me his opinion was right as well. None of it felt great, and none of it brought us closer, or to the other persons side of the issue.
We had those conversations for a lot of years, and I know we still do occasionally, but I have also learned disagreement doesn’t mean we were no longer compatible, or no longer able to be at peace with one another. We are two very different people who will inevitably disagree.
This has to be something we realize within our homes, with our husbands, with our children; because our families can be a reflection of hope.
When division rages around us, we have an opportunity to offer something different.
Let me be VERY clear. There are disagreements and opinions , and there is absolute right and wrong. I am in no way ok, and neither is Jesus, with sweeping sin under the rug in the guise of ‘peace making’.
What I am saying is the things that are opinion, political talking points, or theological debates that have grey areas, and are causing division in your marriage…God offers a solution. If you are a person of faith, it’s pretty clear, we don’t get to pick and choose who we are to live at peace with.
‘Make EVERY attempt to live at peace with EVERYONE and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.’ Hebrews 12:14
What’s interesting about this is it doesn’t say, ‘make every attempt to live at peace with everyone and then they will agree with you and you can sing Kumbaya’.
Peacemaking can be lonely at times because it feels like you might be the only one trying, but peacemaking does give people a glimpse of the heart of Jesus, and walking with him in your marriage is a gift. When it feels lonely or that your disagreements aren’t seeing resolve or keep mounting, seek help. Counseling has brought a tremendous amount of peace to my mind and marriage, and seeking out someone you trust who has a healthy marriage is one of the greatest things you can do. Often times hearing someone else’s struggles and how they’ve learned to work through them is a world of encouragement.
When Kevin and I disagree loudly, and there’s really no changing the other’s mind, I have to consciously decide to be at peace with him because I trust who he is, and that the faith inside of him leads him and guides him. I might pray that God changes his heart (that happens often, and I’m sure he’s doing the same) but when I do that I’m able to release that disagreement to God and allow God to change his mind. I know God’s voice can thunder or whisper as loud or as quiet as it needs to in order to change his stubborn heart or mine.
One of my greatest heroes, Mother Teresa said, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ That begins in our marriages. I don’t want my kids to see us shouting at each other, but I do want them to see us disagree and continue to be at peace and in love.
Marriage is a marathon of choosing: choosing to make peace, choosing to love, choosing to forgive, and choosing to believe that the one who brought you together is able to do what seems like the impossible. I absolutely love this verse: ‘And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.’ Philippians 3:15b God is always so faithful to show us where we can be a lot more like him.
Written by Jessica Andrews