SORRY SEEMS TO BE THE HARDEST WORD

“My beloved has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to browse in the gardens and to gather lilies. I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he browses among the lilies. ”

— Song of Solomon 6:2–3

By Kyle Idleman

In Pixar’s The Incredibles, a group of superheroes are trying to hang up their capes and settle into family life. It’s a tough transition.

One of them, named Frozone (the one who zaps bad guys with streams of snow and ice), is in front of the bathroom mirror. He sees a giant robot trudge by the window. Hero time! Frozone checks his secret lair and finds that his costume is missing.

“Honey!” he yells, “Where is my super suit?”

“What?”

“Where is my super suit?”

A helicopter crashes outside. It’s getting intense. After being pressed on the issue, Mrs. Frozone finally admits putting away the suit.

“But I need it,” shouts the hero frantically.

“Uh uh,” says his wife. “Don’t you think about running off to do no derring-do! We’ve been planning this dinner for two months.”

“But the public is in danger—we’re talking about the greater good!”

“I am your wife,” she says. “I’m the greatest good you’re ever gonna get!”

Mrs. Solomon might nod in agreement to Mrs. Frozone’s response.

A critical moment comes in every marital argument, just after the dust clears from the first nasty exchange. A reasonable thought crosses your mind. Maybe it’s like in the cartoons: a little angel is whispering in your ear, “C’mon, dude, we can’t let this stand. Go make things right. Each tick of the clock will make it worse.”

But a little devil is on the other shoulder, whispering, “Don’t give in! Protect your pride. Set the precedent. She’s the one who needs to apologize.” What will you do?

What sets us apart as followers of Jesus Christ is not any lack of stumbling—it’s what we do next that counts. We’re going to make things right: come together, talk it through, and use that cool superpower known as grace.

“You’re going to argue, but you’re also going to work through those arguments; God’s Spirit is going to knit you even tighter; and you’ll be a stronger couple than before.”

— Kyle Idleman

Mrs. Frozone has it right: Your spouse is the greatest good you’re ever gonna get. Nothing is more important than unity in marriage. You’re going to argue, but you’re also going to work through those arguments; God’s Spirit is going to knit you even tighter; and you’ll be a stronger couple than before. Marital invulnerability is another superpower.

 Your spouse is the greatest good you’re ever gonna get.

Notice how we all have our styles of dealing with ill feelings. Solomon had his garden, and his wife knew she’d find him there. I’ve known people like that. Go to where your spouse is—not just geographically, but emotionally. Be empathic. Listen more deeply, and understand why the argument happened.

Talk about the ways you’ve handled arguments as a couple in the past. What was it like in the dating stage? What effect did marriage have, if any, on the way you have disagreed? Both of you should name your own worst tendency in handling conflict—talk about yourself, not your partner. What is it about your problem-solving skills that could use a little spiritual growth?

Then each of you should complete this sentence: “The next time we argue, I’m going to try my hardest to ________________.”  Then affirm and encourage one another before praying together, thanking God for the amazing power of grace he has given us for fighting the evil of bitterness.

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