#Write31Days – Post 7 – Dishonorable Agreement

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Have you ever found yourself arguing with your husband about something, and you feel like you are just going around in circles?  Or, perhaps, you feel like your opinions and feelings on the subject are being sucked to the bottom like a whirlpool in the ocean?  Have you spent years battling over the same subject, that now you don’t even bother to bring it up?  You may have even moved into the position of:  “It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.”

I totally get it.  I really, truthfully do.  On certain subjects my husband and I could not have opinions that are further apart.  In fact, depending on the actual subject at hand, either one of us can be a dominating force.  It has taken us YEARS to find that place of compromise, or at least to feel as if we are both being heard.

I am also the type of person who will want to continue to hash out the discussion until I totally understand his decision.  If it doesn’t make sense to me, a simple “I said no” isn’t going to fly.  It’s not even that I am challenging his decision, but more that I want to understand the WHY behind it.  In some instances I am also looking to grasp the permanence of his decision.  It this a “no, forever” or a “no, not right now” response?

Recently, in a discussion group, a woman posed the question:

“How do I honor my husband when I don’t agree with him?”

You can honor your husband, and still disagree with him.  The honor lies in HOW you disagree with him.    Just as you can dishonor your husband when you agree with his decision, because HOW you are in agreement make a difference.

  • Don’t mumble under your breath, that’s dishonorable.
  • Ask if there is any room for compromise, that’s honorable.
  • Don’t give him the silent treatment, that’s dishonorable.
  • Ask if you can revisit the topic in a few months, that’s honorable.
  • Don’t withhold affection from him, that’s dishonorable.
  • Try to see his perspective and understand his reasoning, that’s honorable.
  • Don’t assume you know what he is thinking, that’s dishonorable.
  • Ask for an explanation, and have a willingness to accept it, that’s honorable.

When we can be honorable toward our husband, even when we disagree, we are keeping the lines of communication open.

You want to buy a new potting bench for the patio, so you ask your husband.  He says no.  You ask why, and he responds that there isn’t room in the budget which is already being stretched tight.  Instead of pouting, you can ask questions like…

Can we afford a used one?  If so, what is my maximum budget?  —  Could we build one for less?  Would you help me? — If I sold off a few of my own things, would you be ok with me spending that money to buy it?  — Can we discuss it again after we get our tax return?

By asking these questions you are actually honoring your husband, despite disagreeing or being unhappy with his decision.   You are attempting to understand the situation a bit more, looking for compromise, and with a better attitude.

However, if you walk away from the discussion angry… pouting around the house, giving him the silent treatment for days or weeks, withholding affection until you get your way, calling up a friend or family member and berating your spouse, disrespecting him in front of the kids by blaming him for why they can’t have/do something, etc… you are not honoring your husband in the least.

This is not to say that we can’t be disappointed, not at all.  It’s ok to be disappointed or sad about his decision; it is not ok to punish him for it or to carry anger and bitterness towards him over it.  It’s not ok to manipulate him into getting your own way, or call others onto your team to pressure him to fold.

We also need to be aware of the bigger picture, to have a full understanding of his decisions or opinions.  He may have information you don’t, the timing of the conversation may be wrong, he could have simply had a bad day, or any number of other factors.

Look for solutions, look for compromise, or look to God to help you be content with the decision you don’t agree with.

Honorable Disagreement.  Dishonorable Agreement.

It’s your decision, your choice on how you respond.

On the big things… the life impacting decisions… I hold firm that if God wants us to move in that direction both spouses will share that same conviction, calling, or direction.  If there is disagreement, it is because the “call” is something one of you is feeling in the flesh, or it just isn’t time to take that step yet.

If you are having a hard time being honorable in disagreement, start in prayer.  Take a step back, and pray over it.  When you have tempered yourself, have a discussion to understand his perspective.  Then, before you respond, take some time to think his response through.  Do some research, come up with an alternative solution, develop a plan of action, and then make some time to talk about it again.

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LET IT GO (Not the Song)

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I was reading another blog recently, it was an advice type deal.  It began with a letter written by a woman, her husband had an affair, he admitted to it, repented, and was dedicated to fixing their marriage.  According to her, it was as if he had just moved on since his confession.  However, she was having a harder time with moving forward.  It bothered him that she still brought it up, didn’t trust him.

My own thoughts here relate back to how men & women handle confrontations and problems in life.  As I have always said, when 2 men have a problem with each other… they slug it out & go get a beer.  In other words, they deal with it… quickly, and move on.  They don’t linger.  They don’t hold it against each other.  They don’t keep bringing it up.  When it is done, it is truly done.  Women, on the other hand, we are very different.  We over analyze the situation…. their role in it, our part in it.  What could we do differently, what could they have done differently.  The better way to handle it.  We replay the conversations and situations over and over in our heads.   We are looking for something, I think.  A key, a clue, a hint that we may have missed.  When 2 women are fighting, they are spending more time in their own head talking to themselves (or to their husbands) … THAN THEY EVER WILL ACTUALLY SPEAK TO EACH OTHER.  Disputes can linger, and both sides need time to heal.  But, unlike men, women tend to forgive without forgetting.  They will remember this situation happened & probably remind you of it, should a dispute happen again.  Women, have a harder time moving forward. 

As I continued to read through the article, I realized that the author had gone through this herself.  The woman was asking the advice of someone who had already been through the trenches.  I have to admit, I have no experience here.  To date, my husband has remained faithful.  Yet, I wanted to see what advice was given.

I was absolutely certain there would be some siding with the hurt woman.  There would be mention that wounds take time to heal, that she would need to explain to her husband that the trust needed to be earned back, get counseling, blah blah blah.  The normal things you would expect to read, the very things I would advise.   To my surprise, that was far from the case.

The advice was as simple as LET IT GO.  He asked for forgiveness, you gave it to him, stop looking for evidence, stop holding it against him, stop making him repeatedly pay for his mistake… Let it go.

I was shocked.  First of all, I give this woman an amazing amount of credit.  I am not quite sure how I would handle infidelity.  Over the years, I have come to a place where I have realized that I do, in fact, have the capacity to forgive for that offense and would be willing to work to save my marriage.  But the idea of completely letting it go, seems so impossible to me.

Then she wrote words that would hit home to something going on in my own life, not related to infidelity, but to a situation where trust was broken.  She said that we MUST let it go, we must forgive as we are forgiven.  If God isn’t holding our past against us, we can’t hold others’ pasts against them.  We need to stop looking for evidence, we need to stop replaying the situation in our head, we need to truly move forward without looking back.

She also admitted it isn’t easy, but it is right.

God knows what that person did.  He will deal with them.  I need not focus on what they did wrong, how well they apologized, or sit tapping my fingers waiting on an apology from the person whom I have already forgiven.  I need to move forward, not look back.  I need to let God do what He does best, which is call His people unto Him, reconciling the body as He commands.

I have forgiven.  I am moving forward, not looking back.