My son put on my glasses and stumbled across the room. He said, “Mom, why is it blurry when I look through your lenses?” I told him it was because we all have different eyesight so everyone uses different lenses to look through. I sat there for a minute and thought, “Well, ain’t that the truth?”
Honestly, isn’t that how we find ourselves in most conflicts? We don’t see eye to eye with someone we are interacting with? We all view life differently, depending on which lens we are looking through. Different opinions can be the beginning of strife in a marriage, or even wars between countries.
I know that most of the arguments I have had with my husband, have consisted of me trying to get him to see MY point of view.
To UNDERSTAND how I feel. It’s good to share your thoughts and and practice communication, but sometimes after hours of talking it over, we are no closer to an agreement.
Often times, I forget he is looking at things through his own lens, which means he has his own life experiences, mishaps, triumphs, and biases. Of course he isn’t going to totally see where I am coming from. Add into the mix the good old-fashioned differences between men and women, and you’ve got a full on fire work show, folks.
Just realizing we see things differently can bring the tension down a few notches, but it really doesn’t make everything all better. We still feel mad, or misunderstood, or even disregarded. So how do we work through this? I am no expert, but I see glimmers of change lately.
When Scott holds up his lenses for me to look through, and all I see is a foggy outline of him that gives me an instant headache, I simply close my eyes. I try to step back and imagine how he is feeling, and then I ask myself how our current conflict lines up with how a God treats us.
It’s hard to see Scott’s point of view at times, but God is the perfect example of unselfish love. For instance:
- If Scott is feeling overwhelmed and needs my help, but I am swimming in my own unmet needs and deadlines, I remember that Christ came to serve. If Jesus serves so humbly and freely, maybe He can give me the strength to serve my husband when he needs it.
- If Scott is nitpicking me about things that I find unimportant, I might think about the last “little” thing I pestered Scott about. Like helping me make Greek pillars for a dinner party, or hanging shelves and painting walls. I get pretty demanding at times, in fact. God is so patient towards me, so extending even a measure of patience towards my husband can speak volumes to him.
- If Scott is tired and wants to take a nap, but I want a family outing, how do we make a decision? He is important, and the kids and I are important. I might realize he is tired from his recent trip and let him rest, knowing if I plan something in the near future he is usually game and even chipper about it. God cares so deeply for me and my needs, and reflecting that same love onto Scott can only produce good things.
- When I am tempted to think Scott loves to upset me for the fun of it, I tell myself what I know about Scott. I know he cares about his family. I know he loves me and has good intentions toward me. I know he is logical. I know he likes to give, so if he isn’t in a giving mood, he must just be tired or “off” that day. Telling myself the truth can stomp out lots of little emotion-fueled fires.
I have stumbled onto a better way than simply swapping lenses. That just hurts and makes us cross-eyed. I view my frustrations in the light of scripture because it’s always clear, never weakens, and amazingly, supports both of us.
Of course, I fail at this more often than I care to admit, but I hang onto God’s truth, because It’s the anchor that holds me fast when my emotions are a changing, churning sea, threatening to spill over at any moment. Applying this lens to my life is a good way for me to look outward, move forward, and see lasting change in my marriage.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
[Photo credit: Erin, Creative Commons]