Connect with us

Articles

The Couch War

Published

on

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

"I can’t believe you are being so ridiculous! I’m not being irrational at all! Ugh! I’m leaving! I just need some peace and quiet!"

I slammed the door, stormed out to my black V.W. Jetta, got in, and drove. Sure, it was two in the morning. Sure, I had no idea where I was going. But he was driving me crazy and I needed to leave. I couldn’t believe he was being so stubborn. I couldn’t believe we were in such a huge fight over a couch.

Being newly married and having no furniture to start out with, our couch had been given to us. It was a nice gesture from the givers, but the thing weighed about 5,000 lbs. It was hideous, it was heavy, and it was far from comfortable. We had recently received a check in the mail from a guest who wasn’t able to make the wedding and I wanted to buy a new couch. Justin wanted to save the money.

As I drove aimlessly around, getting angrier with each passing minute that he wasn’t calling me to make sure I was alright, I began to wonder how we got to this point.

We’d been married just four months earlier and had been fighting like cats and dogs for the past week. We argued about ridiculous things, like me getting upset about Justin tramping his dirty shoes all over our shoebox apartment, or Justin getting mad about the way I hung his shirt on a hanger. All these little arguments added up to this big blowout. 

There was no doubt that both Justin and I were a bit stressed. We were both still in school full time, both working, and just learning to live together as husband and wife. While we didn’t have a lot of extra money after all our bills were paid, I thought that a nice, comfortable couch was worthwhile purchase.

I angrily drove to a 24-hour grocery store and walked through the aisles looking for something to jump out and say, "Buy me!" I ended up in the magazine section, and as I glanced over the gamut of magazines my eyes stopped on the headline: "How to get your man to agree with you."

It looked interesting. I plucked it off the rack, paid for my items, and left the store. Back in my car I flipped on the reading light and read the article. It ended with something like: "… if all else fails just fight until you get what you want. Anything worth having is worth fighting for."

Humph. This definitely didn’t help, but it did make me realize how incredibly ridiculous we both were being. We were fighting over a couch. I turned on the ignition, drove home, got into bed next to my sleeping husband, and slipped my hand into his.

The next morning we both were apologetic. Justin apologized for letting it escalate to the level it did. I told him I was sorry for being such a baby about the whole thing and that he was right. Even though I wanted to buy a couch, it would be wiser for us to save the money. Neither of us wanted to fight.

Through our couch war, I learned some valuable lessons about the importance of peace in marriage.

Wanting Peace

When it comes to my marriage, I used to be able to justify in my mind that I had the right to be angry. I used to attempt (and sometimes still do) to get Justin back by saying something that I knew would rub him the wrong way. I wanted to have the last word before I stomped out of the room and make him feel bad that he had wronged me. I would show him! But when I hold unto a grudge, which I have been known to do from time to time, I’m not looking for peace in the situation. Instead, I’m harboring resentment and anger toward the other person. This is sin.

Thankfully, God’s Word is such an amazing reminder of my sinful nature and my need for Him. In Leviticus 19:18, I’m told, "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself," while Colossians 3:12-13 instructs:

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

As I stormed out of our house the night of our couch fight, I was choosing to be angry, and instead of seeking peace for our marriage I was declaring war. A silly magazine article brought me back to reality, showing me that I wanted a couch more than I wanted peace with my husband.

But simply wanting peace isn’t enough. I also have to seek it out.

Seeking Peace

Seeking mutual harmony in marriage is work. I’ve learned this.

Justin and I are approaching our sixth wedding anniversary this July, and I have been known to get on Justin’s nerves from time to time. Oh alright, I nag. Yes, it’s true. I get all up in arms over stupid things—Do this! Don’t do that!—you know what I mean. I can be annoying. This, combined with the day-to-day pressures of life and the big decisions we’ve been faced with, has resulted in conflict; despite the time we spent in pre-marital counseling preparing for issues that were bound to come up as we became husband and wife. 

An issue we faced early on—even before we had kids—was homeschooling. He just assumed we were going to homeschool our children, when I really hadn’t put that much thought into it. We got into a heated argument one night and in the end we agreed to put the decision on hold until we actually had kids. We now have two boys and soon our oldest will be ready for school. We have discussed the schooling issue again, and have decided to take it a year at a time to see what works best for our family.

Through our disagreement in areas such as homeschooling, we discovered that when an argument starts to get too escalated, we need to put it on hold. We take time to try to understand the other’s point-of-view, we pray and think about it, and then come back together and try to be more civil as we work the situation out. By no means does this always happen, but we try especially when it is a big issue such as our kids’ education.

It takes courage and practice to listen to each other, especially when our emotions are on fire. When I get going, I get on an insult roll and soon begin to make little sense, and sometimes I even forget what we were even fighting about. By then I have stomped off somewhere pouting and for the next few hours, or even on a few occasions days, we only speak to each other if it is absolutely necessary. I’m learning to step back and settle down, to really listen to what Justin is saying to me before I send back a fiery response. It’s hard work at times, but it’s much better than trying to live at war with one another.

I love 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, a passage of Scripture you’ve no doubt heard at a wedding. It was read at ours, and it is a beautiful one.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

What a wonderful reminder of how we should be love in our lives. When Paul wrote this letter to the Church of Corinth he wasn’t merely defining what love is but rather how we should be living! And when we live in this manner, we will naturally seek peace.

There have been times that Justin and I have been at odds about things more important than a new couch. In those moments, it’s so wonderful to have Christ and His word to help us both seek reconciliation and peace with one another as we trudge through this life together.

One day, Anne Swanson approached Ashleigh Slater about starting a blog to encourage women. The result: the webzine Ungrind was born. In addition to regularly contributing to Ungrind, Anne’s writing can also be found on Radiant. Originally from Illinois, Anne is passionate about the church, family, and relationships. She’s had more jobs than she can remember, but her favorite (after being a mom) was at Starbucks where she developed her coffee addiction. In her free time she enjoys having a cup of coffee (or four), cooking, laughing, reading, decorating, having a good glass of red wine, and spending time with her family. Her husband Justin and she were married in July of 2002 and they currently live in Kentucky where she is at home with their four young boys.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

One day, Anne Swanson approached Ashleigh Slater about starting a blog to encourage women. The result: the webzine Ungrind was born. In addition to regularly contributing to Ungrind, Anne's writing can also be found on Radiant. Originally from Illinois, Anne is passionate about the church, family, and relationships. She's had more jobs than she can remember, but her favorite (after being a mom) was at Starbucks where she developed her coffee addiction. In her free time she enjoys having a cup of coffee (or four), cooking, laughing, reading, decorating, having a good glass of red wine, and spending time with her family. Her husband Justin and she were married in July of 2002 and they currently live in Kentucky where she is at home with their five young boys.

Click to comment

Articles

When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds

If your compassion far exceeds your capacity, here’s one way you can be sure to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

Published

on

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

One of my life verses is Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is one of my favorite verses because my heart has been so moved by the love Jesus has for me and the sacrifice He made for me that I am grateful to have a way to express my gratitude through acts of justice and mercy while walking humbly with God.

I have found at times, however, the call to do justice and love mercy come in conflict with the call to walk humbly with God. For me, one of the ways to walk humbly with God is to recognize my limitations. I have to put skin to the fact that I am not God which means saying, “no” to ministry requests. It means going to sleep when I could be spending time advocating for the harrowed and helpless in the world. It means limited seats at my table, limited funds in my bank account, and limited energy in my body cannot be ignored but respected and adhered to.

This is hard for me at times, especially when I scroll my Facebook feed and see friends who are caring for their really sick children, spouse, or other family member all while millions of refugees flee war torn countries and babies are slaughtered by the hundreds each day in our country through the abortion industry.

As I scroll, I receive texts about one family member’s surgery gone wrong and another family member announcing a new baby is on the way. I have in mind my neighbor who has inpatient surgery scheduled this week and another neighbor who is trying to hold down a full-time job, care for twins all while battling profound “morning” sickness.

Folks at church are fighting for their lives in physical and spiritual ways, and strangers who pass me on the road are clearly battling something as demonstrated by their impatient honking because I won’t take a right turn on red. I want to meet the needs of all; I want to do justice and love mercy, but I’m daily confronted by the fact that I am so limited.

What am I to do when doing justly and/or loving mercy seem to come in conflict with walking humbly with my God?

God keeps bringing me to this answer: prayer.

God invites us to cast our cares before Him because He cares for us.
God tells us to be anxious for nothing BUT WITH PRAYER present our requests before Him.
God commands us to pray without ceasing.

And, when I walk humbly with God, I see the immense kindness in His command.
He gives us a way to do justly, love mercy WHILE walking humbly with Him.
It is by praying without ceasing.

I cannot take a meal or give money to every sick person or family I know. I cannot extend kindness to all my neighbors all at the same time they’re in need nor conjure up sustainable solutions for the refugee crisis and contact all the necessary world powers to make it happen.

I cannot heal all, but I know the Healer.

I cannot provide for all the needs, but I know the Provider.

I cannot rescue everyone in need, but I know the Rescuer.

I cannot comfort all the broken, but I know the Comforter.

I cannot speak peace over every situation, but I know the Prince of Peace.

I cannot be all to all, but I can go to the Great I Am through prayer, lay all the people, problems and pleas for help before the Omniscient and Omnipresent God of all Creation.

I can do this through prayer.

Recently, via an Instagram contest of all things, I came upon A–Z prayer cards designed by blogger/author/speaker, Amelia Rhodes. It is a simple concept packed with a powerful prayer punch. It has served me personally in this tension of wanting to do far more than I practically can do. It provides prayer prompts starting with each letter of the alphabet along with a scripture that coincides with the prayer focus. It ranges from Adoption to a creative “Zero Prejudice” for the letter “Z.”

The cards are well thought out, color printed on sturdy cardstock with blank lines for the user to write in the names of people and/or organizations that are personal to them.

If, like me, your compassion far exceeds your capacity, pick up a set of these prayer cards and unload your burdens onto a God whose competence matches His kindness, both boundless.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone
Continue Reading

Articles

Facing Our Fears in Motherhood

Do you have fears tied to motherhood? If so, here’s encouragement for you.

Published

on

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

“Are you scared?”

I was taken aback by his question. Scared? Of what?

“Of anything,” he answered.

I had just shared my due date with a new class of trainees.

“He has three boys,” another new hire volunteered. So fear is to be expected, I reasoned. I’m just about to face the most frightening experience in my life.

Of course I was scared.

I was scared…

  • I’ll lose my temper.
  • I’ll whine about sleepless nights.
  • I’ll breastfeed too often or not often enough.
  • I’ll leave piles of unfolded onesies in the middle of the nursery floor because I’m too tired (or lazy?) to fold teeny-tiny baby clothes for the upteenth time.
  • I’ll go with disposable diapers when the better choice would be cloth.
  • I’ll work too many long hours at the office and miss precious moments with her.
  • I’ll sign her up for too many activities and push her to become Miss Achieve-It-All.
  • I’ll pass on to her my ugly pride, self-righteousness, and perfectionism like a dreadful contagious disease.
  • I’ll miss countless little joys in life while pursuing worthless dreams.

Facing Our Fears in MotherhoodIn short… I was afraid I was going to fail miserably as a parent.

And now, holding my second-born daughter in my arms, thinking back on that brief exchange just a few years ago, I realize those fears were well-founded. I’ve failed many times. I’ve lost my temper. I’ve raised my voice. I’ve worked too much and played too little. I’ve seen my own sinfulness reflected in my daughter.

Yes, I’ve failed, but over and above it all, God’s grace has covered my parenting imperfections and made me run to the cross day after day. The writer of Proverbs puts it this way:

Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

When it comes to fears, we have two choices: Will we fear the unknown or will we fear the Lord? Will we allow the uncertain to grip us in its clutch or will we turn to God’s Truth to set us free?

Scared? Oh yeah. There was so much to be scared of that day. And even now, if I’m completely honest, there are still fears nibbling at the edges of my consciousness. Fear that we won’t outgrow the temper tantrums. Fear that the two girls won’t get along. Fear that I’ll mess them up and cause them interminable hours on a psychologist’s couch.

I’m sure you have fears, too.

But rather than allow those fears to consume and paralyze us, we can take them to the Lord, acknowledging His sovereignty over our parenting, pleading His grace over our mistakes, and entrusting His provision over their futures. He is not only able to handle it all — He is far more capable to be trusted with it all.

If I say one thing to that frightened 9-month-pregnant me standing in that room years ago, I would say this: Don’t let fear rob today’s joy with tomorrow’s unknowns. Each day has enough worries of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Instead, let us keep seeking God, running to Him as our secure fortress and resting in the knowledge that He will care for us and our children one day at a time.

What are you scared of today? Name your fears and bring them to the Lord, allowing Him to replace them with His peace that passes all understanding.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone
Continue Reading

Articles

He Gives Shade To The Weary

If anxiety is a struggle for you right now, remember that He gives shade to the weary.

Published

on

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

Do you ever have those moments of fear because you don’t know what lies ahead? When do those thoughts tend to happen to you?

For me, most of those thoughts happen when I lay my head down to sleep at night. The vulnerability comes forth every time. That’s what happened the other night to me. I shut my eyes and immediately anxiety welled up inside me.

What if we don’t succeed in this new venture? What if we have to move? What if we can’t pay our bills?

I laid there with the covers drawn tight over my head (I still think that I am safer if the covers are over my head), praying scripture over my anxious heart. Assuring myself that God sees me and that He cares.

In the morning, I turned to Isaiah 41, specifically verses 10-20.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB)

Yesterday, the “what if’s” piled up as I anxiously looked about me. My daughter needs tutoring, however at this point in life, tutoring feels like a luxury we can’t afford. So I listed some items online to sell hoping to make just enough to cover the tutoring. I’m buying groceries on a Visa reward card. I’m holding my breath until the next paycheck comes. But what did God speak over me: Do not fear. Do not look anxiously about you.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14 NASB)

Why shouldn’t I be anxious? Because God will hold me up. God will help me. When I first read the word “worm” as a description, I took it as a slam against Israel. Like, gesh, God. What animal does He relate me to? But through further study, He calls them a worm because worms are helpless. They are viewed as insignificant, despised and weak. God will help me — seemingly insignificant, helpless me — because He is my Redeemer. He is my go’el — my next of kin. The Redeemer is the one who provides for all my needs. Rent. Car payment. Credit card bill. Gas. Food. Clothes. Debt. God will redeem.

He Gives Shade to the Weary

“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:15-16 NASB).

God is transforming me from a helpless one to a powerful one. The description of that type of threshing sledge is like a modern day earth mover. Powerful. Strong. Immovable.

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17, NASB)

He will come to our rescue. God, Himself, will answer you and me. Can you hear how personal that sounds? Have you ever pleaded with someone important whether your boss, public figure, or even a parent, and they responded to the need themselves? You expected for them to send their assistant, but instead they — the most important one — responded to you.

“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress.” (Isaiah 41:18-19, NASB)

This passage describes the wilderness-like times in life. You are barren. You are thirsty. You are hot. You are in need. God will provide what you need. God will quench your thirst. He will provide shade when you are weary. During those times, God can provide in creative, innovative ways. He can provide something out of nothing. Doesn’t that give you great hope? Even when you can’t answer how He will do it, He is creative enough to figure it out even when the odds are stacked against you.

“That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:20 NASB).

God will do all of this so that His glory will be put on display. People — including yourself — will see that He is powerful.

So you can see how after a night of wrestling with fear and anxiety, reading this was like shade and water for my soul. God is a god who sees. And God is a god who acts on your behalf.

What do you need His help with today? What are you fearful about today? What keeps you awake at night? Where do you need some shade?

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone
Continue Reading

Become An Insider!

Enter your email address below to stay in the loop on the latest from Ungrind.

Welcome to Ungrind!



Hi, I'm Ashleigh Slater, founder and editor of Ungrind. Here at Ungrind, it’s our goal to churn out biblically-based encouragement for women. We strive to be honest and transparent about our struggles in a way that inspires hope, faith, and perseverance.

As you read, we hope you consider us friends, the kind you feel comfortable sitting across the table with at the local coffee shop. You can read more about me HERE and our team of writers HERE.

Latest Articles

What Women Are Saying

"For weary mornings after tending to wee ones all night long or for listless evenings when you need a hopeful thought to sleep on, stop by Ungrind. You'll find a feast for your eyes and soul -- practical, engaging articles that gracefully balance the gritty realities of life with eternal possibilities."

-- Jenny Schroedel, author of Naming the Child: Hope-filled Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Death
COL_TeamUs_BannerAd

Five-Minute-Friday---4

familydevotional

Disclosure

We are a member of the Amazon affiliate program and regularly use affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an Amazon link we provide, we will receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. We only share books, music, and products that our writers personally have used and highly recommend.

Trending

The Couch War

by Anne Swanson time to read: 6 min
0