Looking for Reasons

“In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce.  The trick is to find, and continue to find, grounds for marriage.”   ~Robert Anderson, Solitaire & Double Solitaire

It is dangerously easy to find reasons to be angry with my husband.  I can be angry at what he says, at how he says it, or at the fact that he says nothing.  And I’ve done all three.  In fact, there have been times that I’ve waited for a response from him, and I find myself already working myself up to react emotionally, no matter what he says (or doesn’t say).

“If he says ‘x’ I’ll be really mad, because that is incredibly selfish.”

“If he says ‘y,’ that will be lame, because it’ll prove he’s not taking this seriously.”

Then, after a few moments of waiting to find out which thing I’m going to be angry over: “Oh, man, if he doesn’t say anything at all, I’m going to be furious.”

Fortunately, Pete is usually silent for the perfect amount of time–just long enough for me to snap into reality and hear my own thoughts.  That’s when I realize that I’ve constructed numerous little traps for him, and I’m lying in wait, not for him to mess up, but just to see how, specifically, he’ll mess up.  It’s like the proverbial question: “Do I look fat in these jeans?”  He has no chance at success.  None.  Only varying degrees of failure.

So then I ask God steer my thoughts over to more appropriate responses, disabling all the little traps.  This generally leads me to realize what a jerk I’ve been, even if it was only in my head (I am blessed with a man who’s not a mind reader).  And this is followed closely by an anger-quenching wash of gratitude for all that Pete is and does and how he loves me.

There will always be reasons for anger.  It requires an act of will and the grace of God to look for reasons to love.

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4 thoughts on “Looking for Reasons

  1. LOVED this post. Mostly because I do the same thing and it was convicting. 😉 I’m glad I don’t have a mind reader for a husband either. He hates that I stay quiet for so long when we’re in a disagreement, but I figure that’s the only way for me to say the wise thing in the end. If I were to speak as soon as I had the chance – whoa.

    And I liked your quote about always finding grounds for marriage, rather than divorce. So true. (As one that’s been there, done that. No one looked harder for divorce grounds than me! Lessons learned way too much the hard way for everyone involved.)

  2. Do you think you can teach me the “stay quiet” thing? I usually wind up wishing I could shove the words back into my mouth, but it would be easier to get toothpaste back into a tube.

  3. eh…WM doesn’t like the silence so much. He says he’d rather I say the wrong thing than not talk at all. I just need time to gather my thoughts and spend time alone when I’m upset. Our pre-marital counselor said it wasn’t altogether a good thing because I take too long to do it. I’m working on that part. 😉

  4. Mandy, I’m surprised at you. I had you figured for the perfect wife…no, really, I agree with Laura: this is another great post! Makes me glad I can’t read Sandy’s mind, either. Oh, and I loved the opening quote. I need to put that on the refrigerator–or in it…

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