Him, Me, or Us?

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A mountain out of a molehill- that’s how it happens. Soon, there can be an argument over something that, in perspective, is insignificant.  Sometimes we just need to decide what is most important to us, because we can win (or think we win) a battle, and lose the war.  We can think we are justified and do damage, damage that isn’t easily undone. I’ve heard it said that we are always either building a bridge or a wall, and I believe that.

My husband and I are currently living in an apartment. We’ve been married almost 20 years, and have accumulated some things during that time.  When we moved here, even though we have a lot of room, we don’t have the garage we used to have, nor the closet space, so we’ve stored things in odd places. We had a closet that had a tool chest pushed all the way in the back (yes, inside the house), and covered in front with many boxes and some household items. My husband uses it from time to time to work on the car. (Thank goodness that he does that!)

So, my husband (doing a good thing), got it out one day to do some work on the car.  When he was finished, the tool chest sat in our entryway.  It wasn’t a big deal, I meant to put it back, but it was a lot of work.  Besides, every time it was put back in, it soon came out again for some repair or another.

That chest, sitting there, began to bother me. I wished my husband would put it back. I mentioned it once, and he said it didn’t bother him in the least.  That was the end of our conversation. Off and on, for a few weeks, I looked at that tool chest and wished it gone. Sometimes I thought about bugging my husband about it again.

To make a long story short, we were going to have company one day, and I was debating whether to say anything or not, or nag him to put it up. I began to weigh my options-should I make an issue of this, and tell him how he should see things from my point of view? Could I just be quiet, love him, and find a viable alternative? I began thinking of my husband. It’s his home as well as mine. He doesn’t have a workplace anymore to use and store his things in. He’s a VERY creative and handy guy. I love that about him. He can make a guitar, make a cabinet, make a bed frame, make a chest, make a jewelry box, and many other things. He can do carpentry; he used to find great satisfaction in creating things with his hands or repairing something that was broken. Now he doesn’t have that outlet.

Instead of saying something to him, I began to deal with myself. I never told my husband that it bothered me after our initial “discussion”. It was MY struggle with MY flesh. I didn’t want to create a great rift between us over something that won’t make the slightest difference in our lives in 10 years.  What DOES make a difference is what I sow into our relationship today- whether it is harshness and lack of respect, or respect, consideration, and love.

So, I found a tablecloth that was the same color as the tool chest, threw it over the chest, and put some knickknacks on top. Now I now have an entryway table that I can live with, my husband doesn’t care that his tool chest is temporarily feminized, and neither of us is upset.

My real friends don’t care, actually, if a tool chest is sitting in my entryway, anyway, and the only comment one of my friends jokingly made was, “Lori, you’ve got a crash cart in your hall?”

This situation (or any other that seems important but is actually relatively insignificant) could have become a major source of contention-sometimes people get into arguments over silly things.  Nothing, especially something as inconsequential as having a tool chest in the hall, is worth disturbing our household peace.  I could have simply left it there, undisturbed, and quietly be filled with resentment, or I could have a temper tantrum in our home until my husband put it up (maybe), or I could ask and allow God to show me an acceptable compromise that we are both satisfied with.The Bible tells me not only to respect my husband, but also to prefer others over myself. Peace in a household makes life easier and makes it comfortable for us to be with each other and for others to be around us. I value peace in our home more than I value almost anything.  God will always show us a way to choose the good.

“Be tender loving one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another…” Rom 12:10

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…” Phil 2:3