My wife and I double-dated with them a number of times. On walks after dinner, the ladies would drop back, leaving us guys to sort things out. Later, she and I concluded with irony that if this pair were going to stay married, they’d need to start fighting.
He was a pleaser, offering grace at the expense of truth. Afraid of making things worse, he’d become a house servant, adjusting and appeasing from room to room. Picture it like a form of relational tai-chi. When she attacked, he’d simply smile and step aside–she’d miss him completely. She was trying to find her husband.
Emmerson Eggerichs in his book, Love and Respect says that women usually confront to connect, not to control. As a couple, they were missing the connection.
When someone keeps stepping on your toe and you pretend it doesn’t hurt, eventually you damage trust. This woman could not get to know and trust her husband. She wondered what he really thought but had no access, no sense of what he really thought about her, warts and all.
The masquerade of unconditional love
Sometimes it’s loving to overlook an offense. We all need space to have a bad day, for example. In the heat of the moment, it’s a good thing to let go of an stray comment. Once emotions have cooled, you can review and repair. However, if you get into a pattern of ignoring an offense at the expense of truth, you can’t say it’s a virtue. Call it what it is: avoidance and fear. It’s peacekeeping at the expense of peacemaking.
Reminds me of a famous prayer by Reinhold Neibuhr:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
When keeping peace is simply wimping out, sometimes the road to making real peace runs straight through conflict.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matt. 5:9).