Let Love Win

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on October 25, 2012

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I just heard this silly rumor that some couples don’t fight. It’s true! Word on the street is that there are couples out there for whom a good old-fashioned argument simply isn’t on the menu.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: Dan and I are not one of those couples.

Don’t get me wrong — on a day-to-day basis we’re patient with one another, know how to pick our battles, and we conquer animosity with love and mercy. It’s really pretty awesome, actually.

But we’re also both extremely passionate people so on those very, very rare occasions when the wind blows in the wrong direction and we’re both caught off-guard on a bad day? Well, let’s just say that we’re not afraid of a little honest dialogue.

This used to kill me. How could two people so in love turn on one another so quickly? Where did these arguments come from? And what did that say about us individually and as a couple?

Much has been written by women far wiser than I about how to fight fair. I think such exhortations are fantastic and should be implemented as much and as often as possible. What I’ve come to realize, though, is that until and unless God himself chooses to transform me and Dan (and the way we argue), no amount of advice is going to make a difference.

If we hit that red zone, all encouragements to take a step back, to breathe, and to view this process as a quest for truth fly out the window.

But you know, over time I’ve made peace with that. Sometimes you just have to accept the ugliness and patiently wait for God to redeem it.

Which, as you know, he always does.

It was in learning to accept this reality that I was able to see (with a little help from my adorable husband) that it wasn’t the actual arguments that were the worst part of our altercations, it was the aftermath.

The real damage was done after the fight. It was during that vicious cycle of hating myself for all the unkind things I’d said, wallowing in that guilt until it became unbearable, and then revisiting all the things Dan had said to me (just to ease my guilt) that our union took the most devastating blows.

Do you know what happens when you get stuck in that cycle? Grudges, hurt, and resentment become etched more and more deeply into your soul making healing and true reconciliation that much harder to bring about.

Do you know what else happens? Evil wins.

In the eyes of evil, I don’t think the fight itself is viewed as the primary victory. Truthfully, I can’t help but to suspect it’s seen as small potatoes. The real win occurs when the couple can’t move on from the argument, when they refuse to accept the mercy that God desperately wants to show them (and to pass it on to one another), and they allow the hurt, pain, and guilt to fester and to slowly eat away at their marriage.

Fights happen. They happen between almost all couples. That’s just the reality. I’m not saying arguments are good or shouldn’t be resisted, I’m just saying that they’re hard for most of us to avoid entirely.

When the storm dies down, though, and the seas settle, I’m learning to let them be. To let every thought that crosses my mind, and every action I take, be oriented toward a return to sweet, sweet peace.

I’m learning to let love win.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Cynthia October 25, 2012 at 12:39 am

Great post! I had a novel written about how much I loved it and agreed with it…and then I got embarrassed by how long it would have taken you to read it ;) So I am just going to keep it simple and sweet: I.agree.

But letting go of the aftermath has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to learn. Not only to let go…but to forgive and let go. Oh…and to keep trying. I’m a pouter by nature…my poor husband ;)
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Ann October 25, 2012 at 12:51 am

Hallie, this is nothing short of profound. THANK YOU.

dweej {House Unseen} October 25, 2012 at 6:57 am

Yes. Yes. “No wallowing!”

Trying to teach this to our children when we’re not that good at it ourselves is a real eye-opener, too…
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Colleen Martin October 25, 2012 at 7:52 am

I love your marrital honesty posts! My husband and I snip at each other and argue from time to time, but when we were dating he said that he never wanted us to fight “dirty”. No name calling, no making somebody feel bad for no reason, no swearing. On two occassions, I have told him he was acting like a jerk, and he was so hurt by that and reminded me we weren’t going to ever call each other names and I felt terribly. I really try to play by the rules now!!
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Cindy October 25, 2012 at 9:04 am

Oh my goodness I almost could have written this post.

Amy Caroline October 25, 2012 at 10:03 am

I found that for us the first 10 or so years our fighting was rather passionate. There was a phone thrown once (not at each other, but a wall), lol. We still fight and they are so much more productive. Going on 20 years, when the wind blows wrong we hash it out. It isn’t always fun but there are no holes in the wall from thrown phones.
The point is to try and I think we often need to “fight” to sort out the things that perhaps we have been letting eat away at us but are too afraid to talk about.
And that is what it often comes down to, don’t you think? The need to talk things out, no matter how ugly.
So I think fighting is good. Just no flying objects and mean words… which is not always easy!
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Lydia October 25, 2012 at 11:42 am

I wish I’d read this seven years ago! We used to fight A LOT. None of the books we’ve read about fighting fair stuck with us when we were in the heat of the moment, and theory goes out the window nowadays, too. Now, we fight infrequently (the kind when your cortisol levels shoot up through the roof and you’re biting back all kinds of nasty things you want to say), but it does still happen. I hate it, but I think I hate it not so much because it says “You can’t communicate with your husband, you’re failing in your marriage” but because it robs us of our joy and peace. I get into the wallowing, too, and the “we’re good Catholics! It shouldn’t be like this!” thing. Well, maybe we’re just not as good as we thought we were and that it’s a good thing that gets to be seen once in a while. We love each other, apologize, agree to differ if we need to, and decide it’s better to be happy than “right”.
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bobbi @ revolution of love October 25, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Brian and I don’t really fight but that is more because he is mellow. I am the one who usually gets worked up and mad and he just lets me blow up. I remember getting mad at him once because he WASN’T getting mad. Crazy, I know. I’ve had to learn to accept that we are different people and handle conflict in different ways. Luckily, I blow up quickly but also cool down quickly since I hate being mad with anyone. And he reads me well enough now to know when to leave me alone and when it’s “safe” to give me a hug and say he’s sorry or vice versa.
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Alison Solove @ExperimentalWifery October 25, 2012 at 8:40 pm

It has been said that depression is anger directed inward. When I developed post-partum depression after our son was born, I discovered how true that adage is. Rather than address my legitimate concerns to my husband, I would wallow in self-doubt about what a terrible wife I was to think he had done something wrong. In the end, he ended up frustrated at my passive-aggressiveness and I ended up suicidal.

We’ve learned a lot about fighting over the past few months. I’ve learned that it’s okay to be assertive and he has started to ask me what’s wrong when I compulsively apologize for things that aren’t my fault. But learning not to wallow is difficult lesson, especially with your hormones fighting against you. Thank you so much for the beautiful reminder.
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The Reluctant Widow October 25, 2012 at 11:59 pm

As I was reading about this, I was thinking: “We were one of those couples. We didn’t fight.” It’s not that we didn’t care or that we were perfect with each other all the time, we just never had what one would call “a row.” We had some spirited discussions where we disagreed, but we didn’t fight. But you know what? I think the reason was more from a deep-seeded fear and insecurity on both our parts. I did spend a fair amount of time worrying that one day my husband would wake up and realize that I was all the ugly things I thought about myself, and he’d leave me. And ultimately, it prevented me from fully opening myself up to his love until I could finally move past my fear and my insecure thoughts. How great it is that you and Dan can fight and still love each other as fiercely. How wonderful that I finally learned to let go of my fear even if we never became “fighters” we definitely became passionate “lovers” in every sense of the word.
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LaLaLand October 26, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Please, please can you write a post about forgiveness in relationships? I’ve never really understood it – how to “let go” of the hurt, etc., is such an abstract thought. And the anger doesn’t necessarily go away. Please do that if you can!

Elisa October 29, 2012 at 12:36 am

My husband and I must be one of those couples who never fight. Not NEVER. But we have never fought or argued in person. Now that he’s been deployed for 10 months and we’ll celebrate our 8 year anniversary in December, we just had a little online episode of saying a few hurtful things. It lasted all but 10 minutes and by then we were already apologizing and begging for each other’s forgiveness. We both have always said that nothing is worth arguing about and we both try to outdo the other person with generosity and self-sacrificial love.

When we do disagree on something, we usually discuss it in a playful, humorous manner..I don’t know how to explain it…possibly a flirty way in which we just charm each other into compromising a little, and then we are genuinely happy with our new decision. I think it is mostly my husband who is a bit more easy going than I am though..I think maybe he compromises more than I do. Because I can argue w/ my stubborn older brother until the cows come home.
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Jennifer November 2, 2012 at 9:43 am

This is a super post! With the best and most altruistic of intentions, it’s not easy to bite one’s tongue in the heat of the moment…let’s face it a cutting comment can feel so satisfying and triumphant when the blood is rushing. I’m still learning to hold my tongue as it doesn’t come naturally. Last week I sat down and said I feel this..and that…and this…and I know it’s irrational but that’s how I feel. It was during a relaxed moment, we had a great conversation and not a heated comment in sight. We both felt so much closer and connected…all for the sake of speaking my heart at the proper time. Communication during the calm moments is crucial.
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