Another Cold War After a Difference of Opinion
After gaining faith in God I stopped going out to play mahjong with friends like I had before, but when I had free time I went hiking with the other sisters. I would pick whatever particularly pretty flowers I saw, plus buy some plants to take back home. To my surprise, my husband then started getting in the way of me taking care of plants.
Once I picked some plants when I was out hiking and took them back home. When he came home and saw the pot, he said it was ugly and that our house wasn’t that big in the first place, so it was taking up space. He wanted me to throw it out, but I refused to. In the following days whenever he saw those plants he would go on and on about it, and I was seething. I thought, “I used to play mahjong and he said he didn’t like that, but now I’ve changed and I want to take care of a couple of plants. He’s still not happy. No matter what I do he takes issue with it. How is it that he has no idea how to be respectful of my preferences?” But then I shifted my thinking—God requires us to live out proper humanity, so now that I’m a believer, I can’t be like I was before, always demanding that my husband take me so seriously and arguing with him when I didn’t like something. I had to learn to let go of myself and exercise more patience and tolerance with him. After thinking through this, I said to him, “Don’t these plants look like they’re growing really well? Having them gives the house a bit of vitality, too. They’re good for the eyes.” He thought about it and figured there was something to what I had said, so he didn’t say another word.
I thought everything had passed peacefully, but unexpectedly, one day when I got home from a gathering he started up again about the plants. I really couldn’t stand it anymore, so in anger I threw all the potted plants and the one I had spent several hundred yuan on into the trash can, then said to him angrily, “You’ve had a problem with it from the very first day I got a plant. Are they keeping you from walking around or sleeping? Now there’s more empty space in the house, right?” Then I sat on the sofa and sulked.
For the next few days I didn’t say a single word to him. Sometimes he’d ask me about something but I acted as if I hadn’t heard him, refusing to acknowledge him. I didn’t make any food, either. Seeing that I was treating him like he was invisible, he looked totally dejected. Sometimes he would try to act chummy and find something to talk to me about to relieve the tension at home, but I wouldn’t even deign to look at him. I kept sulking this way. However, I felt uncomfortable and every time I came home I saw how cold it was and saw my downcast husband, so I wanted to speak to him a few times. But I couldn’t let go of my own ego and swallowed the words that had been on the tip of my tongue. I didn’t feel like working, either.
We Open Up Our Hearts and Live in Harmony
When a sister learned about what was happening between me and my husband, she read a passage of God’s words for me. “For example, while living together for several years, a husband and wife try to get used to each other, occasionally locking horns. However, if you are both of normal humanity, you will always speak to him from the heart, and he to you. Whatever difficulties you encounter in life, whatever problems occur in your work, whatever you are thinking deep down, however you plan to sort things out, whatever ideas and plans you might have for your children—you will tell your partner everything. As such, will the two of you not feel especially close and intimate with each other? If he never tells you his innermost thoughts, and does nothing but bring home a paycheck, and if you never speak to him of your own thoughts and never confide in him, then is there not an emotional distance between the two of you? There surely is, for you do not understand each other’s thoughts or intentions. Ultimately, you cannot tell what kind of person your partner is, nor can he tell what kind of person you are; you do not understand his needs, nor does he understand yours. If people have no verbal or spiritual communication, then there is no possibility of intimacy between them, and they cannot provide for each other or help one another. You have experienced this before, have you not?”
God’s words were just like a ray of light shining on my heart and pointing out a path of practice for me. If a couple hope to live in harmony, they have to learn to be particularly caring and understanding of the other person. When internal barriers appear they must learn to open up to each other, to talk about everything that’s on their minds so that they can achieve mutual understanding and intimacy. This is the only way to break down barriers and achieve true intimacy. But on the other hand, if they don’t open up in a timely way to resolve issues, conflicts will grow deeper and deeper. I thought back on how over all these years whenever my husband did something I didn’t like I would just stuff my feelings, but very rarely opened up to him about what I was thinking. When he would talk to me I would disregard him, and sometimes even though I knew I shouldn’t do that, that I should open up and communicate with him, I couldn’t let go of my own ego. And then once that had gone on for a while it would turn into a cold war, and our relationship became tenser and tenser. God’s words helped me understand that in order to improve my relationship with my husband, I had to let go of myself and take the initiative to have a heart-to-heart with him. That’s the only way we would be able to live in harmony.
After understanding God’s will, I immediately sent my husband a message: “Before I wanted to have plants and I didn’t discuss it with you. I was in the wrong. In the future let’s talk about whatever issues we have and be more tolerant and understanding of each other. Then we’ll have less and less conflict and we’ll be closer to each other.” After sending the message I came before God in prayer: “Oh God, I’ve been claiming to believe in You, but as soon as I encounter an issue I can’t help but lose my temper. I’m completely lacking proper humanity and I really don’t seem like a person of God. God, I want to repent to You and from now on wish to interact with my husband in accordance with Your words.” After that, it felt like the weight that had been pressing down on my heart was lifted in an instant. My heart felt so open and bright; I felt a peace and joy I can’t put words to. The next day at work my coworker saw that I had suddenly become so carefree and asked how I had reconciled with my husband. I smiled. I knew that everything had been because of God’s guidance, and that it was God’s words that had untied the years-old knots in my heart. Thanks be to God!
From then on I continued to practice letting go of myself and initiating heartfelt conversations with my husband. Every evening after coming home we would chat with each other about what had happened at work that day, and while watching the news started discussing our thoughts with each other. Even if my husband said something that I didn’t like I wouldn’t immediately pull a long face, but would later open up to him about my thoughts. I learned how to communicate with him. Seeing the change in me, smiles appeared on his face more than before and he became carefree as well. I gradually started trying to understand my husband’s way of thinking and learned that in his free time he likes to go hiking or see movies. Now when he’s off work I do my best to make the time to go along with him. He’s also started to learn to be caring toward me. Sometimes when I’m under the weather, now he knows to ask about how I’m feeling. The distance between us has gradually grown smaller and smaller and there’s more and more harmony at home.