When The Chase first decided to do a series on relationships with a "He Said, She Said" type of theme, I was super excited. My husband, Jeff, and I are total opposites and I envisioned videos that poked fun at that. It would be great. All I had to do was get him to film a short video with me while answering a couple of questions. My husband is an introvert so I wasn’t sure if he would put himself out there like that, but he said yes and we were a go.
The day came to film and I had the questions ready. I was prepared for some light-hearted banter, answering questions like, "Was it love at first sight?" and "Who liked who first?" But on the third question (What is the most annoying thing the other person does?), instead of a light-hearted funny answer, Jeff answered honestly and said, "you tell me how I think and feel."
I love watching my face on that video; my reaction to his words. At the beginning of our marriage, almost 25 years ago, I would have jumped ALL OVER him. I would have lashed out in anger saying anything I could to get back at him for hurting my feelings. But the older, wiser me sits there and really mulls over his answer, processing it. There is an uncomfortably long pause before I resume with the rest of the questions. We finally finish up and turn off the camera. In truth, I wish I would have just pretended to turn it off and left it running because what followed after that was the real truth about marriage. There will always be conflict, but it’s how you handle it that matters. Instead of getting mad and walking away, we talked through it. Jeff didn't understand why I was bothered by his answer. This is a long term argument for us - the way I tell him "how he thinks and feels." If I have bad news to tell him I will often start out with, "You're not going to like this but...." It drives him crazy! He feels like I am putting words in his mouth before he even has a chance to hear what I'm saying.
The truth is that when we were filming I was expecting him to be funny and not quite so honest. His brutal honesty totally caught me off guard. I was mad because he wasn’t playing along with what I thought our video should look like. But one of the things I love most about Jeff is he is true to himself. He is honest and direct and I can always count on him for that. Consistency and commitment are very important in marriage, and he is both. It’s probably why we are still together. He has been both in times when I have not.
So it comes time to write our blogs. Anyone want to guess what our assigned topic was for this series? You guessed it...CONFLICT. After we talked, Jeff offered to reshoot the video, to which I responded, "Absolutely not." Without knowing it, our video was perfect. God continues to show me the beauty of "us." We aren’t the light-hearted funny couple, we are committed and serious. It doesn’t matter if anyone else gets us in that video. WE get EACH OTHER. And I am totally good with that. That video shows me how far we have come together and it makes me smile every time I watch it. Instead of lashing out, I paused and thought. Instead of giving up, we pressed through. Instead of editing out the uncomfortable part, we chose to leave it in and say - THIS IS US and we love each other. When conflict and doubt come up (in any relationship) you have to do those things - think, press through and love. But I have to say the last part of the equation is the most important and that is to PRAY. Jeff and I have been to hell and back and I am here to tell you that when we began to turn to God for help in understanding each other, things completely changed.
In the last five years of our marriage, our family has been through a job change, an out-of-state move, a daughter's unplanned pregnancy and a marriage crisis bigger than anything we had ever been through before. To say we have been through conflict is an understatement! The funny thing is, when we tell our stories, it's the last five years that have been the best for us. We have recommitted to each other and God in ways I would have never thought possible. I mean we are BLOGGING and my husband is sharing his feelings on paper! For those of you that know us I'm sure you didn't see that coming.
All of this is to say that you can trust God to work through the conflict in your relationships. Don't think that it's too big for Him or that it's too late to save ANY relationship. Don't give in to all that doubt and fear. Don't let the conflict win!
When you invite God into the weak parts of your life, the parts where you aren’t happy or scared, He can take all of that and make it into something beautiful.
I know he has for us.
April is wife to an amazing man, mother to three beautiful girls, and grandmother to the most precious boy EVER. She began to recognize God's chase at the age of 44, in a season of major change. April continues to search for God daily in the middle of this fast-paced, over-stimulated world, and when something makes her uncomfortable and challenges her she knows that God is knocking and she should listen.