“Really, how much do normal couples fight?” I asked.
“Well, I guess I don’t know what normal fighting looks like, but I’m pretty sure I fight more then any of my friends are fighting in their marriages.”
“Something is wrong with my marriage because I fight more than other couples, more than “normal” couples.” This message is subtle yet dangerous.
What if this message comes up each time there is an argument, a disagreement, or even an inconsiderate word exchanged? It’s a slippery slope to compare our marriages to what we believe or perceive to be happening in other marriages around us. After all, we really have no idea what is happening behind closed doors.
Follow the line of thinking a step further. This amount of fighting isn’t “normal.” So, if something isn’t normal and I can’t seem to “fix” it, maybe I should just give up. After all, no one else has to work this hard in his or her marriage.
Instead, what if we listened to the Truth about relationships? Think about the number of verses in Proverbs or Psalms that encourage forgiving others, how to work out disagreements or be humble and love one another. The truth is all relationships take work. After all a marriage is made of two sinners living under one roof! Everyone will make mistakes.
The message of truth is that disagreements, hurt feelings, and conflict are a “normal” part of relationships. Once this truth is accepted, I no longer feel “abnormal” or like I need to give up each time we disagree. Instead I can embrace the truth that relationships take work to work well.
Paul knew relationships take work when he encouraged the Romans. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
What strategies do you use to encourage peace in your marriage? How do comparisons derail contentment?
By Heather Larson, M.A.
Wife to Peter
Mom of three
1 Corinthians 13 Team Member
Associate Director of 10 Great Dates