Fight and Flight…my thoughts on marital conflict

My husband and I recently had a huge fight.  It was the biggest fight we have had since we married 5 years ago.  I’m not saying we don’t ever fight but we typically are over it very quickly and get on with the making up part. (blush blush)  The trouble had been brewing for a short while now but it came to a head and exploded over $30 water bottles. (crazy! right?)  This is the kind of argument that you can’t see your way past your anger and the kind that last a few days and when you’re done you feel exhausted and maybe even a little numb.  Teen in the midst of this came home and feeling the oppressive tension asked me if we were going to get a divorce.  I’m pretty sure that when parents fight that all kids ask that but I feel it is asked on a deeper level by a kid that has already gone through a divorce and remarriage with a parent.   It got me thinking.  There’s such a high percentage of subsequent marriages that don’t last.  Why is that?  My guess is that after going through divorce it is no longer this huge wall that you have never seen what’s on the other side.  It is no longer an unknown.  Most people when facing something big would rather face the known rather than the unknown, at least I would.  In those heated moments when you want to shake them and make them understand, when your inner self is wanting to be “one up” and the winner, you tend to think very irrationally.  (duh!)  Be very honest….how many times have you thought or said or had your partner say, “Well there’s the door if you want to leave!”  During times of stress and fear, scientists say we have a fight or flight response.  We decide to stay and fight or we rapidly run away.  I think in a remarriage/blended family relationship it’s more like fight AND flight.  You get to fighting and decide “I’m strong and independent.  I’ve taken myself out of a bad situation, started over, and I certainly can do it again!”  So you remove yourself from the situation or think about removing yourself from the situation.  In other words, you think about leaving.

I am trying to put my trust in God.  This is what I am trying to do during those times.   There is a marriage page on FB by DaveWillis.org. It’s an awesome site.  I found a picture on his page that sums it up.

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It may seem easy on paper but it is so very hard to do!   Be compassionate, have sympathy toward your spouse, love them without condition, and show humility if at all possible!  1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you be like-minded,  be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”  Wow! In researching and praying as I write this post I am so convicted!  How often have I not practiced this verse towards my friends, my family, and most importantly my husband! If you are reading this right now will you stop and pray for me and my husband.  Pray that I will remember this verse when our marriage faces difficulties.  Pray that I will be mindful to put my trust in God because He loves me, He loves my husband and my children, and because He wants us to succeed.  Pray that I will remember He has it all figured out.

My husband and I drove down to the dead end of our street where we could have privacy and worked it out that afternoon.  We started with arguing but ended with really listening to each other.  We then went back to the house and had a family meeting.  We explained to the kids that it was no secret we had been arguing that day but that no one is perfect.  We are all human, we get angry and emotional at times, we don’t always agree and our farts smell sometimes. (Rec’d giggles from them over that last part).  We explained that we love each other very much and that we are not divorcing or splitting up.  We re-assured them of how much we love them and asked if there was anything they wanted to say or any questions they may have. You could see the worry and tension leave their faces and a peace settled in our home.  (Thank you Father God for that amazing peace!)

All of this has made me sure of what I want and don’t want.  I don’t want the fight and flight response!  I just want the FIGHT!  I want to fight for my marriage.  I want to fight for my family.  I want to fight to ensure that our blended home is a happy home.  I want to fight satan and defeat him and not let him have yet another marriage that will destroy lives!  As I hit the publish button, I am praying for you reading this.  I am praying for you to show forgiveness and grace in your marriage and I am praying for that peace that passes all understanding that only comes from God.