This is not the first time I have written about “choosing our battles,” but since our focus this month is conflict, I thought I would come at it in a little different way.
What bugs you about your spouse? What does he or she do that drives you crazy? Maybe they tell you how to drive from the passenger seat (even though you have asked them not to do that well over a million times). Maybe it’s the towel they leave on the bathroom floor or the fact that they never hit the clothes basket with their dirty underwear. Do they snore? Do they have an annoying habit? What bugs you?
You may be thinking that those are not big things and that you could simply choose to not make a battle out of them. It’s not that simple. Interestingly, when I see couples in counseling, a lot of their fights fall into this “what bugs you about your spouse” category. When we choose to fight these battles over and over, they can train-wreck a marriage just like the things we would put in the “big-time issue” category.
I want to encourage you to undergo an important mindset shift. For example, say your spouse is the one who misses the laundry basket every day with the dirty underwear. What if instead of fighting that battle, you choose to pick up the dirty underwear and put it in the basket as a way to serve your spouse? Or, if you are used to driving the car from the passenger seat, what if you said nothing and instead focused on enjoying the time with your spouse rather than on the way they drive?
Here is your challenge: Instead of choosing your battles, how about redefining them? If something bugs me about Nancy, it is so much better for me and our marriage if I embrace whatever bugs me and decide what I can do to come alongside her and show some unconditional love—just like Jesus does for me each and every day.