Alright wives, ready to be challenged? It’s a simple sentence. Yet it drives so deep into our humanness that it deserves some time and thought and it will probably speak to each one of you in a different way.
My husband has a show that he loves watching. I’m indifferent towards it. The content, the humor, the story lines…eh…take it or leave it for me. But I did catch an episode lately that, surprisingly, God has reminded me of.
The pause button. In this specific episode, the young married couple display what they call “the pause button”. They are in the middle of a huge fight regarding important matters, and at times they choose the pause button. The fight gets put on the back burner. And then at a later time, they return to their fight.
This unexpectedly happened for me in the past couple weeks. Grant and I are were discussing something, I don’t remember what at this point, but I do remember feeling agitated, annoyed, and it may have been a tense conversation. We were out and about at the time and we didn’t get to finish the conversation. Life continued on. And later we returned to that conversation to hash it out.
Here’s what surprised me, I actually enjoyed my time with Grant during that inbetween time. Even though we were just in a tense conversation, both of us worked up about something, I clearly remember still enjoying that inbetween time. I subconciously hit the pause button. (I’m usually more stubborn than that.) As I thought more about this and realized I did this (and remembered the episode of Grant’s favorite show) it really sunk in how critical this was.
The pause button does a couple things…
One, it allows you to enjoy time that’s in front of you, even though the issue at hand may not have been resolved yet. How often are your disagreements or tough conversations resolved instantly? Some couples may stick it out and talk and talk until it’s resolved, and that works for them. That’s great. But the times I’m thinking about kind of go like this…you’re on your way to meet up with some friends, a topic of frustration comes out, a little bickering begins, and before you know it, you’re both pretty agitated. And then you’ve arrived at your friends house with a full night of socializing ahead. What will your attitude be towards your spouse that night? Will you respect him even though you just wanted to punch him? Will you be kind with your words towards him tonight? Will you mockingly jab at him with your words? Or. Can you hit the pause button for a couple hours? Can you finish the car ride with, “Pause. We’ll finish this conversation later. But right now, I want to enjoy this evening with you and our friends.” Then enjoy your evening! It may seem like a simple example, but come on, no one enjoys being around a couple all night who obviouosly just wants to throw something at each other. And the part that always gets me, I really don’t want to waste this time we have together. Sometimes a date night doesn’t start out as planned, do I really want to waste this entire evening by being grumpy and upset? Or can I hit the pause button, and genuinely enjoy this time I have with my husband? It’s my choice.
Two, hitting the pause button gives time for God to speak. This may be the best cause for the pause button. By choosing to pause, being willing to step away from a conversation and from the emotions that surround it, I’m giving God a time to speak. In the short time I’ve been conscience of all this, I’ve seen God use this time to speak to both of us. We step away from our frustration and our own voices, and then God steps in to knock a little sense and wisdom in us. When we do return to the conversation, we hopefully have a refreshed point of view, our emotions have simmered down a bit, and we can finish the conversation on a high note.
Three, marriage is for life, that’s a long time. What I really mean by this is that I know conflict will come. I’m human. My husband is human. We will have arguments, disagreements, conflict, annoyances, and frustrations. But I want to put into practice something that keeps those times from consuming us. It’s humbling and super hard at times to step away from something where you want to be right and you want to have the last word and you’re intent on hashing it out. But it’s so rewarding to be able to enjoy time together and return to that conversation at a later time. I’ve wasted a couple days or evenings being annoyed at Grant. And I hate that every time. I want to get into a good habit of being able to pause my words, my emotions, and fully enjoy the time at hand.
I know I’ve heard all of this taught before. But putting a silly name on it and seeing it come to life in my own relationship is really encouraging. So I will lovingly refer to it as “the pause button”. It’s a reminder to enjoy the time I do have with my husband, give time for God to speak into my heart, and not let conflict consume our time together.
Mids pasta sauce. Ever heard of it? Ever tried it? Well in our household, it’s treated like gold. We’d say it’s that good.
Our Sunday meal was coming together wonderfully. Fresh parmesan was grated and being sprinkled over artisan bread to be melted and toasted. Pasta was sitting in it’s bubbling bath, just about to the perfect tenderness.
And the timer goes off. Pasta drained, garlic cheesy bread toasted, salad on the table, water glasses filled. I dumped the pasta into a beautiful serving bowl. I grabbed the pot of Mids sauce which now included meatballs smothered in the delicious red sauce. I was thrilled to create a heaping bowl of pasta and sauce and meatballs and serve it with pride!
And then he saw me. Grant was quickly at my side saying, “What are you doing!?!”
I knew what he was referring to. He didn’t like his pasta sauce and pasta actually combined in the serving dish, he preferred to do that himself, on his own plate.
Well. Normally I would serve it separately and it wouldn’t be a big deal but today I wanted to serve my pasta as that heaping bowl of pasta and sauce and meatballs. So I continued pouring and created that glorious bowl of comfort food, not giving attention to Grant’s disgust.
And I write this not to simply poke at Grant for him getting upset over how his pasta is served, but for what happened ten minutes later.
I questioned Grant as to why he was so upset about this and why he let it bug him so much. And he simply agreed that it was silly and he didn’t have a reason to why he reacted so intensely. And that was it. As quickly as he reacted, he admitted his reaction had been silly, and he moved on.
I couldn’t be more thankful for my husbands quick heart to humbly admit a mistake and then move on. It keeps the air clear. It keeps communication happening. It keeps hearts soft towards each other.
And eat Mids pasta sauce, go buy a jar. Talenti Gelato, that too.
So what’d you do today?
She responded, I read all day.
The moment she said that it encouraged me and I knew what she was saying.
She continued on, “It’s kind of like my sabbath day and I try really hard to protect that.”
A sabbath. What does that mean? To me it means this: rest, quiet, refocusing on the Lord. And the words could continue on and on to describe characteristics of what this kind of day or chunk of time can mean…renewal, growth, calm, peace, recharge. Does any of that sound appealing? Do we desperately need any of that in the culture of busyness that we’ve created? Yes.
I constantly hear people say how they are so busy, and I say it myself. We fill our calendars and run ourselves ragged. Time flies by. Days go by, weeks go by, and we feel as though we’re just going through the motions. Sure we may be enjoying the contents of our schedule, but is it really setting us up to flourish?
Over the past four months, I’ve experienced the lows of anxiety, stress, busy schedules, and the tendency to try and handle everything myself. I knew something had to change in my life or else I was going to break, soon. I immediately requested to cut back to four days a week at work. I vowed to myself that my day off would be my day. I would use that day to unwind, refocus, and rest. It had to become my sabbath day, and I needed to protect that space in my life.
As a spouse sometimes we allow a mentality to creep in. It’s the mentality that thinks we can fix our spouse, that we can change them, that we are the source of all motivation, inspiration, and change. I’m reminded this week, that I am not this to my spouse.
On June 9th, just about two weeks ago now, my father in law unexpectedly passed away. He was only sixty one years old. He was a close friend to my husband, Grant, and they navigated through life’s ups and downs together, side by side.
Through the grieving process, there are up days and down days. This morning as I left for work it felt more like a down day. My heart was sad for husband today as I watched his normally carefree demeanor a little more heavy, a little more weighted down. I found myself repeatedly telling Grant I loved him, subconsciously hoping that would fix everything and he would feel better.
A few hours into my day, after again professing my love to my husband, it hit me. My love will not heal his heart. My love will not comfort him from this deep loss he’s experiencing. My love cannot protect him from pain. As much as I want to fix this and see his carefree demeanor return, that is not my place and I do not hold that power.
As a wife, I was not placed in Grant’s life to change him, guard him from pain, or fix his human flaws. This is simply not what I was ever intended to do or to be. I am not the source for healing. I am not the source for hope. I am not the source for supernatural joy. And I have to release that expectation and burden off of myself.
I am simply an instrument. I can bring joy, laughter, and happiness into my husband’s life. But only God has the power and ability to truly comfort his heart in a way that I never could. That doesn’t mean I stop extending hugs and support. But it means that I pray all the more that God covers my husband and does supernatural things I could never do.
In my love for my husband, I release him to our Creator, our kind and gentle God who loves Grant more then I ever could and who knows exactly what Grant needs at every moment. I would release my husband to no other, but I know the God we serve, and I trust Him and His plan for my husband.
Post by Amy Snyder
There are so many times my husband blesses me. He fills my heart with love, laughter, kindness, joy, and encouragement (and often a kick butt workout in the gym). But some of the most important times, are when he exemplifies grace. He reminds me often of the high value of a grace-filled spouse.
Being in relationship with another person, especially a relationship as close as marriage, is awesome, but is also just asking for trouble and conflict. After all, we are human. Yes, if you are a christian, God has changed you immensely. Hopefully you are in the process of becoming more and more reflective of Christ’s character. But the fact of the matter is, we’re still on Earth, we’re still in a sinful world, we’re still human.
And because of that, a grace filled spouse, is crucial. To have one, and to be one.
What does a grace filled spouse look like? To me, it’s this…when I have sinned (specifically against my husband), when I have messed up, I don’t come home to condemnation, anger, frustration, or guilt throwing comments. I come home to forgiveness. I come home to patient and gentle words. I come home to encouragement to continue pursuing Christ. Nothing fills my heart like these times do. A husband’s response that is slathered in love and grace, so quickly disperses guilt and frustration in my own heart. What a powerful thing.
So here’s the challenge. Am I a grace filled spouse? Do I offer that same grace, kindness, and gentleness when my husband most needs it spoken over his heart? Especially when the offense is against me, what is my response? Anger, frustration, condemnation? Or gentleness. Mercy. Patience. Kindness.
You see, I cannot control how my spouse responds. I can only choose the measure of grace I extend. God has extended much grace to me. He extends enough that I can soak up what He’s poured over me, and pass it on to my husband. This grace, this kindness and gentleness, can not be conjured out of my own human response. It must come from somewhere much bigger than me, a well much deeper than my own humanness. That grace, gentleness, love, and patience comes from what I’ve experienced in my relationship with God. It starts in our relationship with God, and then overflows into our relationship with our spouse. And then, I become a grace-filled spouse. The type of spouse my marriage needs to thrive. Never doubt the power and influence of a grace-filled spouse. I have surely been blessed with one and am so thankful for him.
Post by Amy Snyder