Most couples have a first fight story. The truth is, I don’t remember the first fight I had with my husband. (News flash to those of you who are engaged: You, too, will lose count one day.) But there is one argument in particular that I remember for its humor and silliness – in hindsight, of course. During what is now known in my household as “Washington’s Italian Conflict,” both sides took their points of view very seriously. But, there we were, I kid you not, screaming over whether to split dry spaghetti noodles in half before putting them in the pot of boiling water. (You have my permission to snort-laugh at us here.)
West coast vs. East coast…tradition vs. tradition… It was as if all of the little differences and frustrations in our marriage had – no pun intended – boiled down to a pot of simmering carbohydrates. (To this day, we now use either penne or bowties instead in commemoration of the noodles whose lives were lost on that fateful afternoon in 2016.) Perhaps the only redeeming fact out of that situation was that, ultimately, it caused us to begin reflecting on our attitudes and – a year and a half later – we are still drawing closer to God in an effort to work on ourselves. Or, as Pastor Dave put it in his preaching during this weekend’s sermon:
“You really want to destroy the works of the devil? Build something! A marriage. A ministry. Step out in faith and start building something with your life whether he likes it or not. We’re not asking the devil’s permission because (Jehovah-Shammah) God is with us.”
Did the enemy cause our fight? No. More importantly, did the enemy have victory over our hearts and attitudes toward each other? No. It was one of a few significant turning points in our early marriage where we decided – because we knew the Lord had meant us for each other – that no matter how hard the road ahead would be, we would choose to stick together. You might wonder if that wasn’t in our marriage vows as is with many traditional Christian couples. It was. But it’s an entirely different experience to choose to live out that concept. You could say, over a fight about spaghetti, that those vows were cemented that afternoon.
I am in no way saying that every squabble between a married couple is either forgivable (never abuse) or humorous (some are unfortunately tragic), but think about it this way: What if, for the most day-to-day annoyances, pet-peeves, and drives-up-a-wall, you chose to use that circumstance as a mental springboard – a cue – to focus on the reasons you loved somebody in the first place. Again, to repeat as Pastor Dave put it: “Build something.”
This week’s name of God under study – Jehovah-Shammah: The Lord is Present – refers to the fact that God is, always was, and always will be present. He will always exist. And, believe it or not, that very same God cares deeply about being your guide and Father throughout your life. Due to human imperfection, we may not always experience what I call “Fluffy Bunny Times” in a relationship, but isn’t it downright neat that the Lord gave us the ability to choose to have our minds renewed by His presence, His word, and His promise that we have the choice to apologize and manage our emotions?
I will end this week’s post with more words from Pastor Dave. He expresses this idea far better than I can. But I, for one, will never again doubt – due to the positivity with which I can reflect on dried spaghetti – that the Lord has always been present in my relationship with my husband and my Abba-Father has always given us a foundation of love:
“I will not see the answer in advance. I will not see Him coming, but in my past, I will see where God has been good to me and be able to project where God will be…proclaiming Him in my future.”
Questions for Reflection:
- Have you ever had an argument with a friend? If so, does it still seem worth it? If not, consider being the first to apologize.
- What was your first argument with your spouse/fiancé/significant other? Are there any lessons from that argument that you can pass along to others? (If you, in any way, feel your situation is unsafe, I strongly urge you to notify a pastor, elder, or authority presence as soon as you are able. There is hope, and there is help.)
- Consider this week’s name of God: Jehovah-Shammah, The Lord is Present. In what circumstances has the Lord been present in your past, and what is one way you could proclaim Him to be present in that way in your future?
- Has there ever been a situation in your past where, during the experience, you weren’t sure God was there, but upon reflection, you can see that He was?
- What is the funniest story you have about a personal friendship or relationship? (Sharing more than one is highly encouraged!)