Give them the chair.
At a wedding shower a couple of Saturdays ago, Carey told a couple of friends that when something doesn’t feel right between us, we go to a chair in our house to sit and talk about things.
We talk about how we feel about what is going on, what doesn’t feel right, and why something doesn’t feel right. We ask God what is the lie that is making either of us not feel right, then ask what is the truth that negates that lie.
She casually mentioned that we haven’t had a single argument in a year and two months of marriage. I guess I take this for granted. Somehow that seems like the way it is supposed to be.
But it was not the experience of some of the other married couples at the shower.
Other people at the party joined the conversation. They half jokingly said, “Where can I get a chair like that?” “If you want to auction that chair off, I’ll start the bidding.” “I guess if you both are in one chair, there’s not enough room to fight.”
Even though the field hadn’t been “invented” yet, I think Jesus knew psychology. In college psych class, I learned stating a command as the positive is more effective than the negative: When you tell your kids not to hate, they hear the word hate. But when you tell your kids to love, they hear the word love.
Jesus didn’t say, “Don’t be intolerant, don’t be corrupt, and don’t cause strife.” In the beatitudes He said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:7-9.)
Even if there was room to fight in the chair, we go to our chair to find God’s peace, not to avoid a fight. But it’s not about the chair that we have. It’s about our willingness to listen to the other and, more importantly, our willingness to listen to God.
I don’t take for granted that Carey and I each have been blessed to have learned what is really important in life. What difference does it make if our spouse doesn’t put the cap back on the toothpaste or puts their socks on the floor instead of in the hamper?
And I don’t take for granted that Carey makes it very safe and easy to talk about anything. I always feel better after talking with Carey. I have never felt worse. And I think much of our appreciation for each other comes from the fact that we have each lost a spouse.
But I know for a fact that anyone can do it. It’s more than knowing that if I can do it anyone can.
Anyone can listen to God. He told us that Himself in Jeremiah 29:13: “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
You can’t remove all the need in the world today but there are lots of ways you can help. Just listen for God’s truth.