I am prone to fits.
Not giant fits of rage, but tiny little fits that come like little storm squalls, all thunder and lightning and then nothing, silence, all done.
Except they’re not all done. These little fits stack up, and my husband and family get the worst end of it.
We are less careful around those we are most tender toward. It’s the gift of safety and vulnerability in a family, but, in the sinfulness of man, it’s also a bane that picks at relationships. One sharp word here, another disregarding phrase over here hurts more than we’d like to say.
My husband and I generally have pretty great communication. We laugh a lot, send each other little GIFs via texting, and try to put the best perspective on things. The problem is not in our communication, it’s in my maturity.
Something happens when I’m hungry, when I’m frustrated, when I’m tired, or when I’m a little bit sad for any reason. In this life, we can chalk those things up to a very big part of our every day. The news is rough, natural disasters are everywhere. We have four kids, therefore tired is my middle name, and I frequently put off eating for the next thing that needs to be done.
I become unreasonable pretty quickly. I lash out, and in marriage there are always a million reasons to lash out—trash that needs to be taken out, kid one and kid three apparently have practice at overlapping times in different locations, I feel unattended to, I feel unnoticed, and dinner needs to be made . . . again, every day. (What’s with that?!)
This life is wonderful! Full of blessings that abound. Our home is usually filled with love and laughter, but everything is darkened by the emotions I let rule me at any given moment. It’s a cloud of struggle in my life, and I know that I’m not alone. It’s not an uncommon struggle.
What emotions well up in you and come out at your spouse?
The safety and security of marriage is a beautiful thing, so beautiful, that it would behoove me to treat it as special, not ordinary. I want my husband to hear words that build him up, not my momentary lack of judgment. I want him to know how highly valued I see him as, instead of letting my emotions rule and trashing him in the heat of my fit.
How do I get there?
Ephesians 4:13–14 shares wisdom and a promise:
“ . . . until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”
I am growing. Christ is growing me. The emotional waves of immaturity are Satan’s schemes to wreck my moment, wreck my marriage, and wreck my soul if he had anything to say about it. But God is working on me, working in me with His Spirit. When my words and actions are less than pretty, are steeped in sin, I can be assured that God is no less forgiving than He was the day before. In the freedom of confession and forgiveness, I grow. I turn to the Word, instead of my own power to be a better spouse, a better parent. I let God fill my heart with His faithfulness, instead of Satan’s lies that I am unforgivable, unchangeable, un-growable.
The only thing that can combat my fits is forgiveness.
Christ is growing me! He is growing you. This marriage, this life, is a learning process, a daily drowning to sin and rising in Him. For years, I hid away after my fits in shame. I went and did laundry, gave my husband the silent treatment, hoping he would reach out to me and heal my self-inflicted wounds.
If we read on in Ephesians 4:15, we learn this:
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ.”
The freedom of forgiveness, the maturing of forgiveness, can come when we speak the truth in love . . . even to ourselves.
If and when the fits come, let us lay them before our Savior and then lay them before our spouse. It’s a cycle that looks like this:
Confess, absolve, pray, and mature—before my spouse and before my Savior.
Marriage, in its awesomeness, is a place wrapped in love. It’s imperfect, but it’s one of the best places for us to mature. In the midst of my struggle and my sin, forgiveness can enter like light through the ongoing work of the Spirit in my heart and in my mind.
It is a quest. It’s not a battle won suddenly, overnight, problem solved. But Christ Jesus, who is faithful, will bring me to completion. He has won the victory, and He is growing me up into Him every day.