Poor Joy had a rough night. Runny nose, congestion, sore tummy… no one got very much sleep. J surrendered the bed and headed for the couch so at least one of us would be able to function this morning. When he got up he informed me that our couch is the most horrible, uncomfortable thing in existence to sleep on, and we’re keeping it. He said, “if we’re ever having an argument and one of us decides we’re sleeping on the couch it would much more comfortable to come back and sort things out.”

A couch that’s good for our marriage. There you have it.

I hope we never have to use it. Before we married we promised never to go to bed angry. We were determined to go to sleep at peace every night. And although there have have been a few late nights of working through things, we’ve managed thus far to keep that intact. For which I am so very thankful.

I am the one more likely to withdraw, to give in to frustration, to ignore a struggle and put it out of mind instead of getting to the bottom of it. J keeps me accountable, and because we’re both determined not to walk away, our marriage thrives.

I hope I’ll never forget our first big blow-up of married life. It was about something really petty and I, true to my stubborn nature, dug my heels in and would not consider giving in. I stormed out of our flat and walked until I found a bench to sit and stew on. I remember thinking ‘enough! I don’t want to do this anymore.’ And suddenly it was all so clear. It was as if a voice spoke truth so unmistakably straight into my mind and heart, and cooled my anger:

He’s your husband.’

That was all it took. Everything had changed. We were married now, permanently. A wave rushed over me and I wanted to run home, into his arms, and beg his forgiveness.

No matter what caused the issue or who was in the right to begin with, we had both argued, both allowed ourselves to be overcome by hurt and lashed out at each other. I had fought him where I could have been gracious, and wounded him where I might have gently helped him to be a better man.

I did run home, and found him on his way to find me in a similar condition.

I am so thankful that we don’t leave things to fester overnight. It has meant that we’ve had to learn to fight fair, to stop and pray, to look at our own behaviour and own it, to put our spouse first, and look after them and recognize that hurt arising from miscommunication is still hurt. I love marriage. It is the best character training ground I could ask for.