Our First Big Fight … And Why It Never Got Resolved
By Jim Mitchell
I remember our first big fight.
We were naïve newlyweds squeezed into a tiny apartment. Like, “how on earth can you lose your keys in here” kind of tiny. Yet there I was, frustrated and late for work.
Helping me look, she asked the classic question: “Where did you last have them?” Which never works.
Except this time it did. I knew immediately where they were, and I would’ve kept it quiet if she hadn’t been standing right there. That’s when things escalated.
Under normal circumstances, finding your keys—problem solved.
But finding your keys still dangling in the outside keyhole from the night before when you carried all the groceries in one trip and closed the door behind you with your foot—that’s a problem that’s just getting started. Especially when your wife values security.
We had quite the verbal throw-down that day, and much of it has faded. But I do remember a few details.
I remember her saying we weren’t robbed overnight only because a thief didn’t stumble past our door.
I remember how not-a-big-deal that was to me, and explaining we were never in any real danger because, “We’re on the second floor at the end where there’s like zero traffic.” (Not helpful at all.)
Angered by the undertones of our impasse, I remember smashing our blender’s plastic lid into pieces on the countertop, and then dodging the plate she threw in retaliation.
And I remember realizing for the first time how hard marriage was going to be.
It was a collision of underlying values that I couldn’t put my finger on as a young husband. A collision still happening 25 years later, thankfully without the smashing and throwing.
I still think she needs to relax, but I’m learning to protect and cherish. She still wishes I’d plan more, but she’s learning to flex and trust.
Tension unresolved, teaching us a lot about love that doesn’t always seek its own.
The Good Stuff: [Love] is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful. (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)
Action Points: How about you? What are your most common fights? Looking deeper: What values are colliding in those moments? Can you see the other person’s perspective as neither wrong nor right, but different? Discuss together.
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