Lost but Holding Hands…Or Not… II (Paul’s response)

Thanks for your patience guys. Here is my response to the marriage post from Saturday.

There are a lot of ways I could go about “answering” the situation, but for me the two different situations call for two different (and difficult for me) responses.

Take 1: The case in which I was at fault for the geographical indiscretion.

When Liz woke up in a less than congenial mood, I admitted that I was lost, but immediately started saying how it was no big deal and that she should just get over it. First, no one yet has ever taken me up on the advice of “just get over it” so perhaps that nugget of wisdom is fools gold. Second, prideful defensiveness is exactly how not to deflect someone’s propensity toward anger (especially if you inject sarcasm into it). Instead of defensiveness, Liz needed an acknowledgement of my responsibility followed by sympathy for not fulfilling that responsibility. I’m not saying it was a sin to be lost, but she had trusted me to find the exit and my failing to do so had caused some inconvenience. In her mind, being lost and late were akin to bad tidings without joy. Consequentially, she felt distress. It was as if she had lost something when I missed my exit. Jesus, even when he was late on purpose for raising Lazarus  realized the distress of his friends and wept with them (John 11:33–35). On a smaller scale, you should be sympathetic in keeping with their reaction to a loss—even if you may not understand why that loss means so much to them (chances are there are things that drive you nuts that they don’t care about, right?). “But what about all that sinful anger displayed toward me?” you may ask. Well, a soft answer turns away wrath. This means that you don’t minister grace for anger by rising to the occasion or getting defensive. Especially if your spouse has the Holy Spirit, chances are they know they are overreacting. If not, later go to them and lovingly speak the truth. In the moment, your job is to acknowledge your fault, be sympathetic, and not to take offense at unkind words.

Take 2: The case in which she was at fault in the geographical indiscretion.

To be honest, it’s usually me who makes the mistake. So I lobbed most of those barbs simply because I rarely get the chance. Instead, I should have used the mistake which caused me significant inconvenience to trust God’s sovereignty and show Liz grace. God has a plan in inconveniences and, surprisingly (or not!), usually his plan doesn’t include saying things to make the other person feel stupid, embarrassed or angry. God didn’t plan Liz’s mistake so that I could rub it in, instead, it was an opportunity for me to show grace by shrugging it off. I should have (and eventually did) laugh it off and labeled it as a “trip to remember.” Mark it, when you are inconvenienced by someone’s mistake, the next right thing to do is always to show grace. When there is a time factor involved, this “trusting of sovereignty”  becomes more difficult. If I have to be somewhere and Liz makes me late, I become extremely frustrated. Yet this too is a test. Will I say things like, “Well we would have been here, but she decided to x, y and z.” No, you can’t even rub it in to make yourself look good in front of your boss or friends. God knows how they will perceive you and it’s okay if they think you run late  sometimes. God wants you to do something more difficult, protect your spouses honor at the cost of your own pride. Apologize for being late—and then, if necessary, take two cars next time:-).

Hopefully our posts will help you the next time you face some type of highway strife. They are ways in which you can “be lost, but holding hands.”

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