Krissy and I are scrappers. More times than I can count, we've laid our crap on the line to each other and been unafraid to call each other out on theirs. Because one of the things we've always been is real and raw with each other. One of the first long chats we ever had, we decided to just tell each other every bad thing we've ever done. 100% flat out. Then we chose to decide if we still liked each other after or not! Funny thing is that after hearing it, "like" turned into "love" because it made us both want to fight for each others freedom. But we haven't always been able to be that mature about it.
We celebrated our second anniversary in Accra Ghana by eating a machete-cut pineapple from a roadside wheelbarrow... and fighting with each other. It was a doozy too. We were still learning how to “do marriage” together and we were thrust into a situation where we were right beside each other 24/7... in a broken bed sweating together.
In the cars and buses... sweating together.
In the classroom... sweating together.
Sitting in various states of undress playing rummy and watching decade's old reruns of “As the World Turns” on Ghanaian TV... sweating together.
Everyday. All the time. We completely got on each others nerves. And when I say that, when I really mean is, that we got to the point where every time the other did something, we were banking our anger and at the next available outlet, we'd go down the same “you did”, “you said”, “you suck” road again and again.
That muggy night, we retreated to our bedroom to fight and I was a particularly harsh jerk to my wife. I don't remember what I said, but I do remember what she said. I watched her hit her breaking point and look up at me with tears in her eyes and say,
“Dave, I don't need you to criticize me anymore. What I need from you is to love me anyway. I need Ridiculous Love”.
When she said the words “ridiculous love” they hit me hard and not in a fight back kinda way either. They were likely the first words that either of us had ever said during a fight that had settled something then and there.
Our marriage changed that night. We instituted a policy of “Ridiculous Love”. The plan was that whenever she'd do something that made me mad... my job was not to give a death glare, criticize, or store up my anger and let it loose in an argument later. My job was to squeeze her hand and whisper the words “ridiculous love” into her ear. And her job was say out loud, "I receive it". And we made it our responsibilities to mean it, and do it... even if we didn't feel it.
This policy was and is still for both of us. We both continually need to choose to remember that as two people in a covenental relationship, we are contractually obliged to grace. It's the only way it works, since we all stink sometimes. We screw up date night too often by putting ourselves first. It's not an excuse to continue making wrong choices, but the thing that causes us to screw up is somehow woven into us. It leaves us in need of a savior. We're living in the Era of God's grace extended TO us and expected OF US...
... and it's the most important thing I've ever learned about marriage