If you can believe it, Emily and I fight sometimes. We’ve tried to pray the fight out of us…but it just happens sometimes.
One time we got into an argument. I don’t remember what it was about, I just remember for once I was right. Being right was a feeling I wasn’t really used to. Usually, the fights are because I’m such an awful roommate (seriously I am. Don’t believe me? Read this). But this time, somehow, I was right!
I couldn’t believe it! I was so excited to hear her say, “I’m sorry.” Part of me wanted to record her so I could play it back when I was feeling down.
I waited and waited and waited… She wasn’t doing it.
That’s when I realized, often marriages are made up of two distinct types of people. One person is quick to apologize; the other takes a little (or a lot) longer to apologize -but they will eventually come around.
In our marriage, I’m pretty quick to apologize. For em, it takes a little time to muster up the words, “I’m sorry.” (She’s not wrong very often, so I think she forgets how to say it.)
So, we were stuck in this “Who’s going to move first” dilemma. I was waiting for her to apologize, she was wanting to move on. So, I played the only card I had left -the silent treatment.
That’s right, I leaned into the silent treatment. If she wasn’t going to apologize, then I wasn’t going to talk to her.
The argument happened on Friday. That’s when I initiated operation silent treatment. I held strong through the rest of the day Friday and then all day Saturday. I didn’t say anything. I wasn’t going to budge until she said sorry.
In my mind, I thought she was heartbroken. It must have been devastating to not talk to me.
I stuck it out all the way through church on Sunday. Then, as things go, the message at church was some life-challenging things about forgiveness, or grace, or mercy…blah blah blah.
I left realizing I should probably talk to her. Eventually, the interaction went something like this:
Me: We should probably talk about this.
Emily: About what?
Me: About the argument on Friday.
Emily: I thought we were past that?
Me: No we are not past that! I’ve been waiting for you to apologize all weekend. That’s why I haven’t talked to you at all!
Emily: What do you mean you haven’t talked to me?
Me: Have you not even noticed?
Emily: No, I thought we’ve had a pretty good weekend.
**Insert Face Palm Gif.**
This is the moment I learned that the silent treatment doesn’t work.
Here’s the deal, I think there are a lot of people in this world stuck in the same pattern Em and I were in; people sitting with their arms folded in frustration waiting for the “other side” to make the first move towards reconciliation.
Maybe that’s you today. Maybe something has happened in your life that is preventing you from being all-in on a certain relationship. What would it look like if you stopped waiting on the other person to make a move and instead, you moved first?
Psalm 34:14 says, “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Notice the word “pursue”. To pursue is an action. You can’t passively pursue someone or something.
So then, what if you moved first?
If you are not a Jesus follower, then you don’t really have to do this whole thing. I mean, why would you want to pursue someone that has hurt you anyways? It doesn’t make sense. In the end I think it would help you, but I get it. It’s going to be really tough.
But, and this is important, if you are a Jesus follower, this thing is for you! We pursue others because God pursued us. We move first into the lives of those that have wronged us because God moved first into our lives. God isn’t waiting for us to get up and do some religious ritual for him to come back into our lives….no “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 5:8
-Marriage stuck in a rut? What if you moved first into flirting?
-Stuck in a fight? What if you moved first towards peace?
-Stuck in a pattern of bickering? What if you moved first towards forgiveness?
What if you moved first today? It may be hard…but, there is life on the other side of all that!