What I am writing about today probably saved my marriage.
Most of you who know me know I have a mild temperament. My nature is to avoid conflict and to seek peace.
Early on in my marriage, I realized that this was not always a good trait.
Because when I avoided conflict, it was impossible to uncover the truth. And with the truth buried, both of us could not move past an issue.
In those early years, if Leslie brought up something, I had two ‘go-to’ reactions:
- Apologize quickly so she can stop being upset, but silently never repent and slightly resent her for not understanding ME or for being UNREASONABLE
- Get super defensive and justify my position while negating what she was feeling
Thank goodness for our mentors Deen and Roslyn Allen who told me I needed to learn …”Leslie-ese” (that was the way they referred to learning to REALLY listen to her).
It would have been virtually impossible for me to learn ‘Leslie-ese’ if I steadfastly held onto my prior beliefs because I was missing rich opportunities to pick up on the vocabulary and grammar of that language.
What I learned is that when she got to the point that she was raising something that was really ‘heated’ – it was something that was REALLY important (even if I didn’t think it was important) … and as much as I was uncomfortable and wanted to make the discomfort go away … I needed to LISTEN and LEARN … and then take ACTION.
This is not to say I am perfect at this – I still mess up. Just recently, she called me out on something I was not taking appropriate action on … and my knee-jerk reaction was to defend myself … but that night I couldn’t sleep and I went and spent some time in prayer and reflection. Then I took out the notes I had written about the issue earlier in the year – and realized that my hesitation to act was not justified.
By doing my RESEARCH, I was able to see a fuller picture (we had more information now than earlier in the year) – and I could see that she was right.
So I repented and we were then able to walk side-by-side instead of against each other to a better outcome for all of us.
I said all that to say – seeking peace at all costs … without understanding that there is no true peace without understanding … is just a band-aid – its a hollow peace.
There is difficult work to be done for the pain in this nation to be healed … and it will take discomfort AND repentance (which simply means “changing your mind”) AND new actions.
A lot of my recent social media posts may have made you uncomfortable, defensive, self-righteous, or even confused … maybe you believe there is a media conspiracy that is making a big deal out of nothing and you can’t wait for things to ‘die down’ so you can go back to a peaceful life.
If that is you, consider that there just might be a ‘language’ that you need to get better versed in and that as you learn more, you will understand more. When people say to get ‘educated’, they are not saying you are not an educated person – they are asking you to learn a language that will bring healing and reconciliation. That language is a fuller understanding of this country’s full history – a lot of which you did not learn in school – and how that history has true and lasting effects TODAY.
Every time that Leslie and I have gone through one of those intense periods we have grown by leaps and bounds – we have come out on the other side stronger and more resilient.
I truly believe that is a realistic outcome for this nation too – you just have to be willing to do the work.