Hmm—that sounds a bit like the 60’s hippie motto, “Make love, not war!” The guest speaker at the marriage seminar my sister and I recently attended was none other than my Montrose “roomie” from last summer, Elaine W. Miller. Elaine has two published books in her Splashes of Serenity series, Bathtime Reflections for Drained Moms, and Bathtime Reflections for Drained Wives.
“Make nice, not mean,” is Principle #6 on Elaine’s list of “Ways to keep your marriage fit.” This is the one that stood out to me. Overall I think I’m a pretty nice person, but like most of us, I have a dark side which sometimes allows some not so nice behavior to erupt.
Elaine said, “Everyday we choose words and actions that serve or suffocate our marriages. We need to ‘make nice, not mean.’” At the end of her talk she asked us to stand if we wanted to commit our marriage to God and strive to improve our relationship with our husband. My sister and I looked at each other and Char said, “Well who doesn’t want a better marriage?” With that we both stood, along with most of the audience, and Elaine prayed for us.
My commitment was tested the very next day. I’m not a computer guru by any means, and sometimes my husband tries to help me out. But having him stand behind my chair, like a back seat driver telling me what to do, tends to frustrate me more than help me. As usual, I was not getting it as fast as he thought I should. We were both getting upset and finally he left the room.
I didn’t speak to him for the rest of the evening and he went to bed alone. I tried to immerse myself in a book, but my emotions were churning. Finally I recognized God’s still small voice nudging me with Elaine’s reminder to “make nice.” “OK Lord,” I prayed, “I’m letting go of this anger and asking you to give me peace.”
God is always faithful to answer our prayers for forgiveness. I was able to relax then and go to sleep peacefully, thanking God for his release, and for my husband, who has many wonderful traits along with some that frustrate me. That is also one of Elaine’s principles, “Hold on to what is good in your husband and let go of things that irritate.”
I’m glad God doesn’t cast us aside when we fall short of his expectations. We need to do the same for those we love.