One of my favorite speaking illustrations is about conflict. I share how when fighting, most couples stand face to face with the problem between them. Each is trying to win. It is not about solving the problem, but about each wanting it solved their way. Then I ask, “What if each of them did a pivot? What if by pivoting, instead of standing face to face they are now standing side by side?” Now the problem is in front of both of them and they can focus together on the best way to solve it. Plus, they can invite God to join them in the process.
The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines “side by side” as an adverb meaning, “in the same place, time, or circumstance.” Webster’s sentence using side by side says, “they lived peacefully side by side for many years.” That’s what Nancy and I strive for. We don’t always get there but we keep that as our goal. Standing “side by side” with God in the middle will get us there every time.
In my book 7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage, I describe “side by side” this way.
It’s standing together no matter what. It’s taking the hard knocks together and getting back up.
It is both a conviction and a mindset. There is no ‘Plan B.’ Nancy and I have the marriage today that we have because we learned to fight together with God. We’ve talked about times we could have given up. We could have quit and never looked back. Yet if we chose either of those paths, we would never have known what we have today. Sure, today we have battle scars but each one represents a victory that God won for us.
God taught us that by honoring the commitment we made together before Him, He would not only be with us through everything we encountered, He would bless us richly. I know. That sounds like church talk. But let me say it this way. When we had problems, God showed up.
I cannot explain it any other way. We had answers that had to come from Him. When we prayed and sought His help, He always came through. It did not always happen the way I thought it would, but it was always good for us and our marriage.
He taught us how to “love one another.”
He taught us how to be generous and how to share what we have with others.
He helped raise our children.
He taught us how to live with little and with more.
He taught us the importance of fighting for our marriage.
So why not try it? Try pivoting. Stand “side by side” and invite God to be in the middle. He will do more than you could ever imagine He would do!