A couple of weeks ago, I opened a text from a soon-to-be-bride that read, “Can you give a 3 minute speech at our reception?” I replied “You have great faith if you are trusting me to talk for only 3 minutes.” She graciously replied, “Well we know you... so we thought we would start with 3. If you’re you, then that’s okay.”
Since the beloved new bride is a lover of taking colour-coded notes, but had no pen and paper tucked into her gorgeous gown, I promised her I would post this here for her future reference. Since happy couples and unhappy couples statistically have the same amount of conflict in marriage, perhaps we can all learn a new fight song.
David and Sam, you made it! I think you would both agree that it was worth every fight it took to get here. I heard recently that the hardest years in marriage are the ones after the wedding. That may be hard to believe on this very perfect day where everything went as planned. As you gaze into each other’s smiling eyes, you might not be able to imagine that at some point, you will stare into those same eyes, only all of a sudden they may look quite angry.
Unpleasantly surprising thoughts like, “this is not what I signed up for,” or, “this is not what I expected,” or, “it was not supposed to be like this,” might wander through your mind.
When you find yourselves with your fight faces on, I want you to remember this: Choosing to fight for each other, rather than with each other, will change the climate of your marriage.
So, let this be your fight song. Your take back your life song. And your prove your marriage is alright song, because I know you’ve both got lots of fight left in you.
Fight to FIERCELY LOVE each other the way Jesus Christ loves you.
Jesus Christ pursues you, accepts you, forgives you, has compassion on you, understands you and listens to you. You both belong to Him and now you both belong to each other. Marriage will not ask you for anything that Jesus has not already done for you.
This kind of fierce love doesn’t depend on how your spouse has been treating you or what kind of day you’ve had; it depends on what has done for you. When you can feel your fight face on, I challenge you to ask: Does this require me to do anything more difficult than what Jesus has already done for me? He is the only one you cannot out-love or out-forgive.
Sam, keep pouring your fiercehearted fight into the hands of the One who has already won and will not be disappointed. Fight for David to become the man God intended Him to be. Fight so that at the end of his life, David will say, no one on earth loved me more fiercely than my wife. David, fight to fiercely love Sam the way that Jesus Christ fiercely loves you so that at the end of her life, she will also say, no one loved me more fiercely than my husband.
This kind of fierce love will make your imperfect marriage a picture of the perfect gospel story.
Fight for INTIMACY in your marriage.
This is so much more than just sex. Fight for oneness on every level — emotional, spiritual, physical, and sexual. Make it your personal mission to understand how each other ticks: what drives you, what bothers you, what is sensitive for you, what hurts you, and what excites you. Fight to keep needing each other, wanting each other and enjoying each other.
Instead of fighting about how it’s been a while since you talked, or how you can’t remember the last time you had sex, or complaining about how you never pray together, fight for it. Simply ask for, or just initiate what you wish the other person would. The goal isn’t to be fine, it’s to reflect God’s design.
Fight to GUARD each other’s hearts.
Wisdom says, “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” Now that you belong to each other, each other’s hearts are also your own. If they lose, you lose. If they win, you win.
The biggest fight to guard each other’s heart will be in conflict, but that is where it is critically important. The actual words you choose matter, so does the tone and facial expression you use. You can say a lot without saying anything.
In a recent fight, I thought I was using the right words and tried to have a respectful tone. I complained to Mike about how I didn’t understand why my words were making him feel defensive when He reached across the van and pulled down the mirror and said (lovingly-ish), “Look at your face. Would you want to talk to you if you were looking at yourself like that? A fight face was staring back at me in the mirror and I realized why he wasn’t inclined to listen.
As an imperfect parent, I care greatly about how my children speak to each other. How much more does God care about how we speak to His children. Sam, David is God’s beloved son. David, Sam is God’s cherished daughter. Talk to each other like you know whose you are.
The mirror isn’t a bad place to wait when you can feel your fight face. Pray until you care more about guarding the other person’s heart than getting your way for a fleeting moment. Fight to guard each other’s hearts — you are both His.
Fight for your HOME.
Home is your hearts and your house. David, you’ve been entrusted to lead it and Sam, you’ve been entrusted to keep it. Together, fight for your home to be the safest place for each other’s hearts. Sam, create a climate in your home that David loves and looks forward to walking in to. Help him win. David, lead your home well so you can lead with integrity elsewhere.
When your spouse walks through the door, pause what you’re doing and greet each them. Chances are, they will have faced some fights that day. Let home be the safe place to land after a long day.
We live in a time where we have easy access to everyone else’s home. One only has to scroll for a few seconds to get sucked into other people’s stories, and get amnesia about your own.
Together you have your very own, This is Us. Your us is not in what was, or what could be, but what you are in the present. Water your own lawn and fight for your home. Love your own story most, invest in it and keep writing it.
Fight to keep moving TOWARDS each other.
A fierce marriage will happen because of thousands of little fights to keep moving towards each other in the simplest ways when you don’t want to.
Fight to put down your phones to listen to each other and even fight to turn them all the way off occasionally. Fight to roll back over and cuddle when you want to cross your arms, stay on your own side and go to sleep mad. Fight to hold hands when you’d prefer to pull away. Fighting to move towards each other the way Jesus fought to move towards you.
If you are busy fighting to Fiercely love each other, fighting for Intimacy, fighting to Guard each other’s hearts, fighting for your Home, and fighting to move Towards each other, I have every confidence you'll be blessed with less time to fight each other.
Let this be your new fight song.
Love, Ninang Steph