I was 100% convinced I was right. We’ve been looking for furniture for our front room for the last six months and I knew the perfect place to find what we were looking for. Kristen and I were headed to Dallas to speak at a parenting conference, and we would take a quick trip further up north after our talk to find the piece of furniture we wanted.
We’d teach until 2:00, head north 10 miles to Nebraska Furniture Mart, find an ottoman, put it in my car, and then head back home to the promised land of Waco, TX. It would only add an hour or two to the trip. Best husband ever. It was a genius plan.
Or so I thought.
Kristen, on the other hand, wanted to make a quick trip to Costco and then head back home. It wouldn’t involve much additional time and we could get home to our sons who would have been on their own while we were teaching.
Kristen thought she had the perfect plan. I thought I had the perfect plan. And when we discussed each of the “perfect plans,” we quickly realized both sets of plans could not be perfect.
Fast forward to an argument on the phone that ended up with us hanging up on each other.
How Our Plans Collided
We both had great intentions and there was no sin in either plan. Yet we ended up arguing over it. What happened?
Kristen tends to think more about our kids. They’d be on their own all day, especially our younger son who isn’t old enough to drive. We left the house at 6:00 am and probably wouldn’t be home until 5:30 pm if we did what I wanted.
But, it’s not like I’m careless and don’t think about our kids. I saw this as an ideal opportunity to help close a loop and solve a problem we’d been discussing for months. We had the place to shop, the time to get there, and a little bit of money in our pockets to finish furnishing the room. Why would she not see me as the best husband ever? I’m taking care of business and furnishing our living space!
A few reasons why we ended up in an argument.
- We’re both selfish. Just about everything we do (some might argue everything we do) is tainted by selfishness. Even when we have the best intentions, there’s probably some level of selfishness at play. I was more concerned with being a great husband than thinking of the needs of our children. James 4:1 says we quarrel and fight because of selfish desires that wage war within us. We fought because I was being selfish. We were both being selfish in our plans.
- We each defended our case and didn’t care to listen to the other. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing their opinion (Proverbs 18:2). I didn’t really want to hear her plan because I just wanted to tell her mine. And then when she pushed back on my plan, I got defensive. Pride kicked in. What do you mean my plan isn’t perfect? Why would you not want to do what I’m suggesting? Don’t you see this is for you? I hate it when I’m defensive. It’s one of the ugliest things about me (and about you when you’re defensive).
- We didn’t assume the best. Kristen later told me she assumed I hadn’t thought at all about our kids. I assumed she was overly protective of our kids. Biblical love chooses to believe the best about the other person (1 Corinthians 13:8), not assume the worst. We would have spared ourselves some frustration if we had just taken some time to ask each other some questions instead of making poor assumptions.
What is it for you? When was the last time you and your significant other got into a fight over an issue where you simply didn’t listen to each other?
This is the day-in, day-out work we do in marriage. Every day we get the opportunity to listen, communicate, compromise, pray, and pursue each other. Yet we often choose to speak, yell, argue, demand, and withdraw from one another.
How Did We Resolve The Issue?
Are you ready for this?
We talked about it and we listened to each other. We acted like grown adults. We compromised. We came up with a better plan. We apologized and sought forgiveness from each other. We did the basics.
Don’t forget the basics. It will serve you well to apply all the things you already know to be true. Listen. Deal with your selfishness. Believe in the best.
Scott Kedersha is the Marriage Pastor at Harris Creek Baptist Church. Over the last 17 years as a marriage pastor, he’s worked with couples in every season of life. He’s the author of the book Ready or Knot? and the forthcoming book, The Ready or Knot Prayer Guide (October, 2023). He’s one of the co-hosts of the popular marriage podcast More Than Rommates. He lives in Waco, Texas, with his wife and four sons and writes at www.scottkedersha.com.