“I want to consider another supplier for our wedding!”
“Yes, but I’ve already signed with that one. You were with me, remember? My word is my bond, Sweetheart.”
“I’m not asking you to break your word, perhaps you can renegotiate or buy out the contract. Besides, he kinda tricked us.”
“Well, he can trick us if he wants, but I refuse to stoop to his level.”
“But we’re still stuck with a sloppy supplier for our wedding! I don’t want that!”
“I don’t want that either, but you know what’s worse than that? Having a bad testimony and not being able to honor God during this process.”
“What are you saying? I’m not trying to have a bad testimony!”
“Really? Because even your attitude right now is worrisome. I think you need to go pray or something.”
And that is a summary of one of the biggest pre-wedding arguments between my wife and me. While we’ve had quite a few already that are much bigger, this is significant because of the huge lessons for both of us. We learned how to listen to each other’s concerns. We learned (a little) how to work through issues without getting emotionally riled up. In fact many of our fights follow that same pattern:
Joe wants A.
Carla wants A but she also wants B.
Joe also wants B.
So they both want the same things and they’d realize it if only they’d listen to each other.
If this was a romantic comedy we’d have the wise-cracking guy bestfriend siding with Joe the whole time. Joe would complain while they play TOPICAL SPORT OF THE DAY and his friend would make jokes about how he has it worse. Then Carla’s BFF would tell her how dumb she is for letting such a great guy like me go. Then a montage of scenes would come rushing to her mind and it would melt her ice-cold exterior. We’d run to each other while music from the popular-for-now band plays in the background.
A lot of the time, for my wife and me at least, our fights are prolonged because we are better at making our points than hearing the other’s. If you believe the Bible, you’d see that it says the devil accuses us to each other, causing us to form nasty conclusions about our relationships without being aware about it.
We can beat this lie first by exposing it. Ask yourself, “Is my wife/brother/boss/friend/colleague really that bad?” When staff complain to me about their coworker or boss, I sometimes ask this question.
Once someone said, “My senior pastor didn’t approve my idea. He is stopping me from discipling students!” Really? Like that’s what he’s trying to do? Like he sees you fulfilling the Great Commission and he’s saying, “Not on my watch!” Obviously not. (And if he was, you have a bigger issue than that particular idea. You better get out of there.) You’re only disagreeing on methods and timing. Maybe he sees something you don’t see. Or maybe you haven’t helped him see what you see.
Like my wife wasn’t saying, “I know you signed that contract. I totally want you to break your word. I’m that kind of person.” And I wasn’t saying, “I want us to have a terrible wedding.” When we finally took the time to listen to each other’s positions (with some help from our secret weapon) we laughed at how common our stances were. And you and your co-fightee will too when you hear each other out.
Alright, maybe you won’t laugh. But you’ll definitely understand each other more and your relationship – whether coworker, friend, family or spouse – will be better for it.