FatherSon Ventures

Building a Relationship through Adventure

Surviving Marital Discord

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jan• 25•13

RSCN1935L screamed at me because she couldn’t find the fabric dryer sheets in the kitchen cabinet under the sink. She demanded I look for them after she looked and couldn’t find the sheets.

Her tone made my nerves leap, and I did not have the opportunity to tell her that I had moved the sheets from the right to left side of the cabinet the last time I helped out with the laundry.

“You need to come find the fabric dryer sheets,” she repeated four or five times while I waited for a break in her rant, and D looked at me to see how I would respond to her yelling.

It was that simple. Look on both sides of the kitchen cabinet and the dryer sheets would have been found with no reason to yell and the fabric sheet crisis would not have intensified.

“What’s THIS?” L bellowed as she stepped from the kitchen into the living room, holding a plastic bag with Gain detergent and a box of chocolate brownie squares with sprinkles.

“It’s brownies,” I said calmly. “I must have forgotten to take them out of the bag from my trip to Target.”

My answer, combined with the absurdity of getting angry over fabric dryer sheets and brownie squares, didn’t help bring peace to a situation quickly spiraling out of control.

And it’s probably best to leave out the details about what happened next. I stayed calm, and I will just say the entire ordeal could have been avoided with a much less emotional approach.

L and I are both Christians, and we’ve had too many of these types of conflicts throughout our 15 years of marriage. As followers of Christ, we know 1 Corinthians 13, verses 4 – 6:

Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

I hate arguments, and you would think we’d have learned by now how to speak with love to one another, and to realize these useless arguments do not provide a good model for our son.

So I went to McDonald’s. It was quiet and peaceful, and I considered staying a long time, but after a while I checked the time. It was 6:46, and D’s bedtime story time was drawing closer.

My first thought was to let L handle story time (I am not sure if I had a punitive motive), but then I started thinking how D might feel if I did not show up for his bedtime story.

I had two choices, and I knew I’d be leaving McDonald’s soon.

L was video recording D reading his favorite book when I came home. I sat next to D on the sofa and put my arm around his shoulder as he read a story about a Little Red Hen baking bread.

When he finished reading, he ran to his bedroom to get another book for story time. Sometimes, he will come back with three, four or five books, but this time he returned with just one.

It was a book on telling time, and we talked about the kids in the pictures: a boy or girl getting dressed, eating a sandwich, writing a sentence, playing at recess, and putting on pajamas.

There was a clock on each page that told the time it was in the day, and I liked the simple conversation we had about each one of the pictures while we snuggled together on the sofa.

I knew I had made the right decision in leaving McDonald’s to share the last fifteen minutes of D’s day with him, though he chatted to himself in his for at hour after L tucked him in bed.

I’ve forgotten to say, L texted me to apologize when I was at McDonald’s. She said she was wrong, and even though she did explicitly ask for forgiveness (as she always does after saying a hurtful thing), it was inferred.

Yet, I was still was angry.

I went into the bedroom while L tucked D into his bed, and while I never explicitly said, “I forgive you,” I chose to let it go, and not let a root of bitterness be planted in my heart.

I practiced what Ephesians 4:26 – 27 says, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”

The next morning, as I watched some seagulls in a parking lot fight over a McDonald’s bag with a few leftover French fries,  I realized that I had made the right decision to forgive L, whether it was explicit or implicit.

Mercy Me, “Spoken For”


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