The third horseman in our marriage killer series is defensiveness. What does this look like? It looks like me protecting myself AGAINST my spouse. It looks like me in battle mode ready to defend myself against the enemy and his name is Steve. Can you see me dressed up in my armor parading around the living room, wielding my shield in his direction. Silly, huh? But sadly that’s what it’s like. Defensiveness is divisive and does nothing to build healthy communication or intimacy. It shows up as each person trying to get their side across, defending themselves and justifying why they are right. The end-goal is to win the battle, but what happens is that the war is lost…or the partner is lost, or the marriage is lost.
In the early days of our marriage the relationship was toxic. There’s just no other way to describe it. We were cutting, brutal, and destructive with each other. And we were Christians. I prayed for Jesus to come back on a daily basis and take him home. But somehow that was not the way that God had in mind to heal our marriage. I’m glad I wasn’t God in those days! I remember one argument in particular, well I don’t actually remember what it was about, I just remember me dominating the “discussion” and telling him why he was wrong and why I was justified in my position. On that day, my mother-in-law happened to be visiting, just HAPPENNED to be visiting and she pulled me aside and I will never forget her words as long as I live. She said, “What’s more important to you, to be right or happy?” If this is you, and you defend yourself and justify your position to the death, let me ask you a question, “What’s more important to you, to be right or happy?”