I think every couple has a few disagreements that just keep coming back. An annoyance, a habit, a hobby or even how to mow the lawn or load the dishwasher. It could be anything. I laugh sometimes when I read the Proclamation on the Family. I know that every word of it is true, but it can feel like a lofty goal at times. The principles are beautiful, but the execution is tough. Will we always have peace in our family relationships? Hardly. Are we trying? Yes. But even with those best efforts, I am certain everyone can identify one thing that makes us roll our eyes when the topic comes up for the hundredth time.
In our home, my husband is an avid organizer. He prefers what feels to me a military regime of cleanliness. I, on the other hand, do my best to keep up with the chaos of running a homeschooling household but I tend to fail miserably. There are always messes and things that need to get done with whatever time I have. I believe that homes are meant to be lived in while my spouse would love for his home to be magazine-cover ready. I recognize that we are both on extremes of this constant battle. Whenever we are on opposite sides of an issue, we need to remember that neither one of us is going to be one hundred percent in the right. Over the many times I have prayed for help with certain situations in my marriage, I have never heard, “You’re right, Melanie. You need to hold your ground until he gives.” The Lord counsels us to be one, to love each other and be united. If we are both standing our ground on opposite sides, we are not united. The kinds of responses the Lord gives usually encourage me to do more seeking and to be considerate of my spouse as well. When I am determined to hold my ground, it is probable that my pride is speaking louder than a soft heart.
How do we handle these re-occurring issues? We find compromises. If we cannot find compromises, then we need to remember how good the Lord has been to us. We remember the great blessings He has bestowed upon us. We remember what a gift we have been given in making covenants with our God. We seek to remember that He has asked us to be an example by reflecting the love and light of Christ for others to see. By so doing, our
hearts can be softened to the circumstances around us and we will lose the desire to give battle. What if those arguments just did not matter anymore? What if we could sincerely smile at our spouse and give them space to do something how they want to without being critical or thinking about our own wants?
Elder James E. Faust said, “In the enriching of marriage the big things are the little things. It is a constant appreciation for each other and a thoughtful demonstration of gratitude. It is the encouraging and the helping of each other to grow. Marriage is a joint quest for the good, the beautiful, and the divine.” 1
When we remember how blessed we are, we will feel stirrings in our hearts that will lead us to appreciation and gratitude for our family. With those attributes at the forefront, those stupid little fights will lose their value as we place Christlike love and concern over all else.
1 “The Enriching of Marriage”, James E. Faust, General Conference, October 1977