Way back when, David and I were working through some significant marriage stuff. Newly graduated with counseling degrees, our earnest effort to find the truth and implement it got a little out of hand. To make sure we were fixing the issues (and who was right and who was wrong), we began recording our fights and conversations. Now, before you fall on the floor laughing, just remember that we were young, dumb, and earnest! And of course, it goes without saying, you did silly stuff too! (I feel better just saying that! Ha Ha!). We certainly were serious about so many things. The intentions were good, but the result was not what we wanted at all.
I bet you can guess what happened. Yep. We “worked” on things constantly. Then we got more irritated because the other person just wouldn’t cooperate and change. The intensity became so constant we were just tired all the time. After a while we fought, not for the other person, but because we badly needed relief.
Talking to our mentor in desperation (and honestly proud of our diligence and commitment to finding and doing “the truth”), his eyes got big, he cleared his throat and asked, “How often are you doing this?” When we answered, “All the time!” he got this kind of peculiar look on his face. I couldn’t tell if he was going to burst out laughing or wonder why he agreed to mentor us in the first place! “You know, the next time you feel like fighting, why not go out for ice cream instead?”
Years later, I think I’m understanding a bit more of what he meant. Enjoy each other. Yeah, you’re neither one of you is perfect. Yes, there’s difficulty between you. Yes, the history is long, hurtful, and annoying. But…is there nothing in the other person to enjoy? Let the difficulties be what they are. They are not the sum total of you. Walk in the freedom of things not having to be ok, in order for you to find the good. Let their process unfold as you gift them with the joy of discovery. Because there’s time…God isn’t going anywhere or quitting any time soon. We can let the pathway unfold as it will. God has this. He’s got you and He’s got them. So, we can downgrade intensity, find enjoyment and walk with Him in leisure.
Anybody need some ice cream?