"Ugh! You always do this!" I was fuming. It'd been a long day and an even longer week and I just wasn't up to the mess I came home to.
"I'm sorry I forgot! It happens. I'll clean up tomorrow."
But my mind was convinced that he was the problem, the enemy, and so I pounced and attacked with my words. And he snapped back like a turtle in it's shell. He shut down, which only made me angrier.
And so we fear danced. Around each other, around the problem, around the true enemy.
Which, contrary to my point of view in that moment, was not my husband.
Fear Dance--the dynamics and responses that work within a couple. That when he does this, I do that dance. That dance that happens when your buttons are pushed and you're not intentional about your response. At it's core--the belief that it is your spouse who you're fighting against.
It's a war tactic. Confuse them. Disguise the real enemy. It's the Trojan war horse of battle, and it's a tactic that's winning.
So we fear dance until we're exhausted, weak, and vulnerable. Until we don't know who the enemy really is, we just know we're unhappy. Where all that you can see is emotions, not truth.
No wonder so many couples are divorcing.
We've been played into fighting the wrong enemy for far too long. We have a real enemy, one intent on stealing, killing, and destroying all that is good in life, and marriage is good. God himself said that.
So, we need a new plan. A different way to think and respond in times of heated battle.
- Know your partner well before the heat of battle. You're going to battle and your partner isn't the enemy, but nobody will successfully win a battle fighting alongside someone they don't know. Success of the team depends on you each knowing each others (and your own) strengths and weaknesses. In Judges 7 the Midianites are defeated because they are confused in the heat of the moment. Don't be them. Don't wait until things are already going to strategize. Plan your victory now by knowing what you will do then.
- Know your enemy. Known his tactics. Know how he plays both against you and your partner. We know his biggest ploy--to confuse you and disguise himself. So be intentional about calling him out.
- Refuse to fear dance. When I get angry and yell, my husband automatically shuts down. Fear Dance. I yell out of fear and anger, but I could choose to walk away, regain perspective and come back in a calm, non-confrontational way. And my husband in response is less likely to shut down. That's just an example, but be intentional in finding yours and refuse to play it out. Learn new ways to interact.
So now that you know your enemy, what are you going to do about it?
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
~The Art of War~