Reposted from October, 2008
Every married couple knows that sometimes marriage involves compromise. But what do you do when the will of one spouse trumps the deepest longings of the heart of the other?
If my wife and one of my sons wants KFC tonight, and my other son and I want Chinese, there are various solutions. Have one tonight, and the other tomorrow night. Go to a food court. Declare a draw and go out for burgers.
But what was I to do with the woman who suddenly blurted out after a dozen or more years of marriage, “He will not give me children.” She didn’t say, “I can’t get pregnant;” or “He can’t father a child;” she said “will not,” in a way that almost intoned, “Help me! Do something.”
Or the woman who came in my store and complained about her husband’s lack of sexual response — albeit caused by a major illness — and said, “A woman’s got needs, you know.” Or the woman who told me, “We haven’t taken a vacation in ten years.” Or the man who wishes his wife would spice things up a little in the bedroom. Or cook something other than Kraft Dinner. Or the woman who is stuck at home all day because he won’t buy an inexpensive second car. Or the man who has a chance at a job on the other side of the country, but she wants to be close to family.
There are times when one person’s desires and goals totally and completely triumphs over the other’s for an entire lifetime. It could come under the heading of compromise, yes; but with a clear winner and a clear loser. “Losing the battle, but winning the war;” doesn’t really describe the situation properly. If an individual desire of the one person is so central — such as the desire to have children — it’s more like a hurt that never goes away. You don’t get Chinese food or KFC the next day.
The question I want to ask the “HWNGMC” woman, but have always been afraid to is, “Did you know this before you got married?” Sigh.
This section was added today, October 10, 2010
Sometimes it seems areas of life end in a draw.
Around the same time as I wrote this, a local church was going through the issue of whether or not to have women as church elders. The pastor was wise, and brought in two guest speakers for Sunday night workshops to discuss their side of the issue.
I sat there uncomfortably and finally decided to ask the second one what he felt the scriptural precedent was for resolving this kind of issue when both sides were presenting strong arguments. He nicely dodged the question by saying it went outside his mandate, and that this was the whole purpose of our discussions.
It’s the same question in theology and doctrine in local churches as it is in marriage: What do you do when you don’t know what to do? When the debate seems to end in a draw?
Life does involve compromise and as it turned out today, in a similar food debate to the one that introduced part one of this post two years ago, we ended up going out for burgers. (Actually it turned out they also had fish and chips and Greek gyros, but that’s another story…)
How do you resolve “draws” in your marriage, or your church?