The cabinet door slammed as I glared and waited for him to explode.
I said things I shouldn't have. I aimed at his heart, hard aim. Taking my recent stress and frustration out on the one person whose back I knew was strong enough to hold it — my words tasted like strong wine.
Delicious but dangerous if I went too far.
His eyes were on fire. I waited. I was ready. Come at me, bro.
I was in the mood to fight with my husband. I wanted to yell and say all the angry things pent up inside of me. I wanted to hear the slamming doors — or maybe we could throw things at each other.
Let’s just say I’m not above that. I once threw a bottle of Robitussin at his head when he came downstairs and asked me if I still planned to make dinner after I’d been hacking on the couch all day.
Today, though, his reaction was different. He just stood there and listened as every awful word spilled out of my mouth, and after one I waited for a reaction from him. But his silence was even more infuriating.
"So you just don't care? Do you? Shocker." He continued to look at me with no words, and as I looked back, God nudged me with all the truths I didn't want to hear.
You know he cares. He stood by you through it all. He led you when you were weak. He loved you through your most unlovable times. It was undeniably true.
I looked at Shawn — his eyes were wide with a deep understanding. "Meg, we've just been under stress."
Anger still stirred in my gut. Despite reasoning and logic — something else had hurt me, but I was unloading it on him. I knew it, too. I knew he didn't deserve it, but I didn't care at the moment.
Instead, I crossed a line we promised years ago we'd never cross. "Just leave me. You know you want to. I'm not good enough to stay in this marriage." It wasn't an apologetic offer. Spoken with a hate-filled tongue, it was a threat and it was the farthest I’d ever gone in our marriage.
Years ago, we vowed never to threaten divorce again when we almost lost everything. I waited for the fight to erupt. But it never did — instead, he walked gently to my side and encircled me.
"That's not what this is about." His strength.
His love. His glowing representation of Christ. It broke me. It saved me. I crumbled into his arms, exhausted from all the things inside of me that raged to get out.
He withstood the storm, and he refused to allow anger to sink us. His soft answer and loving responses brought us closer rather than tearing us apart.
Friends, there is no perfect love other than that which flows from Jesus. It wasn't super-human strength that kept my husband from tearing into me. It was Jesus whispering to Shawn and Shawn leaning in to listen.
He could've walked out on me blamelessly since I dared him to do so. He could've returned the mean words I threw at him. He could have given up and given into the temptation in front of him.
He did none of that.
He chose Christ. He chose love. He reminded me to do the same.
His calm bled into me and gave me the hope I needed. His peace washed over me and settled everything that stirred my heart. His arms held me, and through his faith, I felt my strength. When we listen to God, it invites Him into the mess.
After I calmed down, we sat and discussed what was truly bothering me. Discussing the hurt I was struggling to let go of, and the confusion welling up in my mind.
We prayed together.
God is there in the heat of the moment and the cold of the night. We just have to lean in and listen.