C is for “The Calming Effect”

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Calm

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

I DO…

…value grace, wisdom, and forgiveness over evidence and intentions.

Keep Calm and Carry On is a revitalized decades old phase that has found new life in our pop culture. You may have seen it in the last several months in customized phasing of countless parodies: Keep Green and Carry On, Keep Calm and Swag on, or my personal favorite, from the revamped classic British-made ‘Doctor Who,’ Keep Calm I’m the Doctor.

Countless families, mostly women and children, smile as they share Christmas dinner in a tunnel underground while sirens continue above ground.

WW II Photo Credit: AP via The Atlantic Monthly
Countless families smiling while sharing Christmas dinner together in the tunnels below the streets of London.

This, however, is an article about MAN STUFF, and it just so happens that the origin of the phrase has its roots during a difficult and dark era in our world’s history that had no shortage of integrity, strength, or selfless acts of heroism.  Keep Calm and Carry On was a phrase passed out on posters contrived by the government as part of a British propaganda campaign to ‘offer the pubic reassurance’ during World War II at a time when England was literally being bombarded, by the German Luftwaffe.  Amidst difficult times the moral campaign was powerful and effective.  We see old photos of the bold display of store owners who refused to be pushed from their pursuit of liberty and life by opening the doors to there shops the very morning after an air raid.  Other photos show countless women and children smiling at Christmas dinner together in the tunnels below the streets of London as while sirens sounded above ground.

Regardless of how much we love and cherish our wives or how much they love and honor us, we are different and are all fallible.  We argue, disagree, and sometimes just straight up fight it out.  Before Amy and I got married, at the suggestion of our pastor and other married couples we knew and respected, we sought out a Christian counselor to help to set us up for success We met with our counselor before we walked down the aisle discussing expectations, potential pitfalls, and well… reality.  The man wreaks of wisdom and we still visit him from time to time even now.  There came a day when he gave Amy and I a really strange piece of advice: he said,

Never waste a good fight!

This was revolutionary in our relationship and I don’t know where we’d be without it.  What he Never Waste A Good Fight written on a retro Keep Calm and Carry On Postermeant was that if we were going to fight, learn from it!  Create a calm, safe place to assess as a couple how you got to the battlefield and what was misconstrued, miscommunicated, unthought of, or just what was wrongfully done to the other.  This is not easy.  We are still working on the formula ourselves and will continue to for the rest of our lives, but it has gotten easier.  It’s gotten easier because we know where we are trying to get to and that the other spouse is willing to work at it.

The key, we’ve learned, is to get to that Calm place as quickly as possible and to have the endurance to stay there even if it means taking a few hits. It should go without mentioning, but quiet and calm are not the same thing.  ”The Holy Spirit is patient, kind, and keeps no records of wrongs…” THAT is the Calm we are looking for and it is near impossible to attain so quickly without prayer.  Bombs are dropping everywhere; you’ve dropped some, she’s dropped some.  The damage is piling up all around but it only takes one to start the Calming Effect.  You can choose to Keep Calm and Carry On.  Pray immediately even when you don’t want to about what you don’t feel like praying for and you will be amazed at the peace, grace, thick skin, and focus that the holy spirit gives you.

Couple Praying‘Who wronged who’ is far less complicated if separated completely from the courtroom.  Facts and intentions don’t really matter that much when it comes to loving your wife.  How she feels and how certain things came across to her, does.  Just the fact that she is hurt should hurt us.  That’s right, we don’t have to be wrong or right to ask for forgiveness.  The concept is contrary to how we think justice should work but it’s undeniable.  It’s love!

This, our counselor’s second piece of advice was the hardest.  Master the apology. Phrases like: ”I’m sorry that you took it that way,” or “I’m sorry you felt that I…” run you in circles.  He told us that a correct and strategic apology drops walls and implores a response.  He said to master the phrase,

I’m sorry, will you forgive me?

The quicker we can get to this specific phrase the closer we are to not wasting a good fight, and aiding our wife to feel loved in a greater way than ever before!  What are some great conflict resolution strategies that you stand by and would recommend?

See you tomorrow for the next topic

Loving Your Wife From A to Z:

“Date Your Mate!”

 

Previous ‘Loving Your Wife From A-Z’ Posts:
1. Ask The Hard Questions
2. Bust up the Marital Monotony

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