My husband is my friend. For almost 25 years we’ve shared a bed, a home and all the dirty humanity we can’t groom or hide in those shared spaces. And although we don’t share a worshipful response to Christ, we do have something very much in common: doubt.
I listened to the end of a podcast called Hinge the other day. I need to go back and listen from the beginning, but it in essence it’s a series of podcasts where two friends- one an athiest, one a pastor- look to find the answer to the question: Who is Jesus? What struck me about the last episode of that podcast was how much the two of them were actually alike in their exploration of that question. They both had doubts. They both had unanswered questions. The difference was not that one had all the answers and the other didn’t, or that one even had a strong faith and the other didn’t. The difference was that one confessed he was captivated by this Jesus he heard about, and despite his doubts, he was convinced that Jesus is who he said he is and the other confessed he was not captivated- he just couldn’t believe.
It has helped a lot over the years to listen to my husband’s doubts and questions and explore my own, being honest with him about them. I used to tend to get defensive when Jesus got brought up (ususally cause I felt mocked). But the more I have listened to my friend’s thoughts, the more I can say I understand and let go of the things that don’t really matter.
I’m just now learning about the Enneagram, but I’m sure I’m a 9. And 9’s avoid conflict. I definitely do that. Being married to a man who gets energy from conflict and challenges all the beliefs I’ve held dear, has helped me to learn to deal with conflict and seek the peace I want for myself and my husband. It’s good to be challenged by people who don’t agree with you. And that’s a very hard thing for me to say.
Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Conflict (tribulations) is inevitable. I can’t avoid it. And most definitely in as close a relationship as marriage it cannot be dodged.
If I seek peace by avoiding conflict I’ll never find it. But in the conflict with my husband there’s a peace, a shalom, a wholeness Jesus gives that allows me to meet my husband where he is. I pray that these years of work Jesus has been doing in me will be a witness to my dear friend of the realness of Christ. And I pray Jesus will one day meet with my husband in one of our honest conversations and wrestlings over just who this Jesus is.
I think it’s absolutely wonderful and commendable that you’ve learned to listen to each other on what is often a very touchy subject.
It’s totally the work of God’s grace. It’s actually quite miraculous that we’re still married.