By Alicia Searl, Crosswalk.com
The milk frother is working again! I didn’t replace the batteries, but I know exactly who did. If you love milk in your coffee and you have never tried a milk frother, I suggest you look into it right now. It could be just what you need to save your marriage! Ok, maybe not really, but it may be a great peace offering.
Let me start with this, my husband is a coffee snob – literally. He drinks that goodness with no extra fluff (unlike my cup which is filled with seasonal syrups and almond milk). He sips on his strictly black coffee and adamantly declares anything else is just added nonsense. He is a simple, minimalist type of guy, and honestly, I love him for that.
So, how did a simple coffee thingamajig (a.k.a. coffee frother) save our marriage? Well, let's start with a story:
A few weeks ago, our marriage was tested in a mighty big way. As much as I love my hubby, the “like him” part was on the low end of my wife barometer. Truth be told, the past year and a half has been extremely hard, and we’ve often found ourselves just going through the motions to get by – one day at a time.
Unfortunately, this made a perfect path for the enemy to weasel his way right into our home, our family, and within the sacred confines of our marriage. Grr. It all began after our teen disobeyed our boundaries again, leaving us both flustered, frustrated, and severely disappointed. Maybe it was the straw that broke the camel's back or the fact that we were both running on empty.
Needless to say, this situation put a huge damper and strain on our marriage. So, after my oldest and I exchanged some rather harsh words, I plopped down angrily on the couch and felt the heat of my husband’s side-eye. And well, let me tell you – that was all I needed to take the bait and feed my frenzy of fury.
I could have just gone on to bed (which I have done in the past), woke up refreshed, and then hugged my dear hubby, saying something along the lines of, “We’ve got this.” But… I didn’t. I let the enemy win by getting his big ‘ole ugly foot in the way, adding unneeded and unnecessary fuel to the fire!
My not-so-Proverbs-31 wife reaction landed us in a place of tension for quite a few days. We were sort of cordial, I guess, but it was most certainly forced. The greetings, sweet smiles, and loving gestures were fake (almost demeaning) and not at all genuine.
That is until I picked up the frother… and it was working. My husband’s peace offering. I hadn’t been using it because I was too lazy to change out the batteries, yet there it was – working, almost as if to say, “We’ve got this. We will work this out.”
A few tears slipped into my coffee that day, but it just got me thinking, we can’t be the only couple that has these awful marital arguments, can we? After all, parenting is hard, jobs are draining, and life is plain, downright challenging at times – all this and more can eventually take a toll on any marriage.
Ever been there?
If so, how can we restore the peace in our marriages after a not-too-pretty argument? Well, as much as I wish I had all the answers, I know Who does! Let’s see how God ministers to our hearts during a marital conflict.
Take Time to Cool Down
Some of the best advice we got when we were a younger couple was to get a kitchen timer and keep it handy. This couple, who must have been our current age now (yikes, time really flies), told us that when they got into a heated argument, they took the time to “cool down.” Meaning that they set an actual timer as a visual reminder that they would not allow an argument to linger and hover for more time than necessary. During that time, they would pray and seek God’s discernment on how to handle the situation. It also prohibited them from letting a heated discussion go any further, which generally leads to hasty retorts and harsh words (Ephesians 4:29).
Now, I realize with small children, this may be hard to do, but once you complete your parental responsibilities, and the little ones are in bed, or you have time throughout your day, set the timer, then each of you step away and pray. You can go for a long walk or take a drive too, just to cool off, clear your head, and seek wisdom (James 1:5). Then rejoin after that timer goes off and share your heart while striving to be open and receiving what your spouse has to say.
Identify the Real Issue
Many times, arguments form from an accumulation of things. It’s not just one thing. It’s those little things that build up, and build up, and build up - then bam! Just like that, one comment is said, or a snarky look is given, and that’s it – game on! But, wait! Hold on just a moment. Maybe before we even let it get to that point, we start by recognizing the stumbling blocks before they even take place (Matthew 18:15).
Is it the demands of parenting, the housework that is piling up, the stress in your jobs, or other activities? Maybe it’s the lack of trust as boundaries or lines are being crossed, or it’s several little foxes that have gotten into your vineyard (Song of Solomon 2:15). Friend, we must protect our marriages and guard them against all the brutal attacks this world will continually throw at them. We must also realize that Christian marriages are not jaded by this! In fact, the enemy has his evil eye on faithful marriages that love God; they are his prime target!
So, it is so important that we identify the potential threats, call them out, and pray out loud over our marriage. Start in your bedroom as you proclaim Scriptures over your bed, sanctuary, and safe place that is meant to bring passion and restore love in your union. Invite God into your marriage and cast out all evil. We cannot let the deceiver get a foothold!
Be Quick to Apologize
This sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But why is it so hard? Sigh. I will admit that I am not generally quick to apologize. In fact, arguments emotionally drain me, so much so, that I have been known to fall asleep shortly after we have one. You can imagine this slightly irritates my hubby, who really likes to fix problems as soon as they come up.
While Ephesians 4:26 may tell us not to let the sun go down on our anger, oftentimes, we misunderstand this verse, and pausing for a while may be the best thing we can do. It’s the bitterness that this passage is referring to, so that is what we should keep in mind. Paul tells us that anger is not necessarily wrong or sinful when it is controlled. Yet, when we let it fester and long for vengeance, this leads to sinful thoughts and actions. As believers, there should be issues that are offensive to our God and should stoke righteous anger. When the enemy is tampering with our marriage, that is most certainly a time to be angry – with the enemy!
That being said, when we take a moment to cool down (or rest for the night), we realize we are both dealing with outside pressures that are trying to sabotage what God joined together. This should move us to be angry about the enemy trying to strip us of joy, peace, and love. The easy fix is to simply say, “I’m sorry….”
A heartfelt and sincere apology can go a long way in your marriage (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Start with simply saying, “I’m sorry.” Then, add to it what you are sorry for and validate the feelings of your spouse.
Extend a Simple Peace Offering
As you may already be well aware, these heated marital situations can take a bit of time to restore and reclaim peace. It may take hours, days, or even weeks. Maybe you have been dealing with tension for a while now. Sometimes we need outside help from a professional to get us through hard and trying seasons. Recognize the season you and your spouse are in and take the steps needed to head toward healing.
However, we mustn’t disregard the peace and joy that can come from simple gestures of kindness (Ephesians 4:32). When we take the time to truly think about our spouse and their needs and extend forgiveness, something truly beautiful can happen. We allow God to move in our hearts and repair the wounds acquired.
So, whether it’s replacing batteries in a milk frother or making him a cup of coffee the way he likes it and bringing it to him in bed, do something that shows you are extending forgiveness and welcoming peace. Other simply sweet gestures include writing a touching note, extending a hug, making his favorite meal, or speaking his love language.
I’ll end with this, sweet sister, my simple words of encouragement for you – you are not alone. It can often feel like that after an intense and ugly argument, but God is with you, He is rooting for you, and He deeply cares for the sanctity of your marriage. Let Him lead and guide you, as you place your trust in Him.
Alicia Searl is a devotional author, blogger, and speaker that is passionate about pouring out her heart and pointing ladies of all ages back to Jesus. She has an education background and master’s in literacy. Her favorite people call her Mom, which is why much of her time is spent cheering them on at a softball game or dance class. She is married to her heartthrob (a tall, spiky-haired blond) who can whip up a mean latte. She sips that goodness while writing her heart on a page while her puppy licks her feet. Visit her website at aliciasearl.com and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.
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