Middle Ground

He thought he was right.

I KNEW that I was right.

And thus the conflict began. As I type I can’t even remember what it was all about – funny how that happens. The conversation began kindly enough, as we both pled our case. But all too soon, the tone changed and ramped-up.

He spoke.

I spoke.

We both spoke at once. Our words smacked together and exploded between us like little bombs.

The passionate conversation continued amid the reality of two take-charge firstborns… who hate to be wrong. No, we are not newlyweds by any means. And during our almost thirty-three years of marriage, we have learned that conflict can be life giving. Furthermore, yes, we know ALL about not being right and have actually survived that truth. Yet sadly, sometimes the unhealthy shows up in hopes of finding its old hang out.

Unmoved by each other’s words, we held firmly to our positions.

There seemed to be no middle ground.

When I think back I felt the shift inside me, but I was ready to push him aside and paid no attention to that warning. Soon his words bounced off my self-protective walls. I knew he felt them rebound. How did I know? He went silent. And in my “rightness”, this was absolutely fine with me. And I told him so. Consequently, we retreated to our outer boundaries.

I got busy.

He got busy.

We passed widely through the day.

It was startling how much I accomplished fueled by irritation, avoiding my heart and the heart of the man I love. Some exchanges could not be avoided, but they were done with quick precision. The evening meal was efficient. I cook, we both clear and he cleans up the kitchen. He silently did his part. I avoided his intense expression and the tight jaw line that tells me he has something difficult to say – as I retreated to brush the teeth of my own tense mouth.

Ultimately, I hoped to find a new way to hide throughout the evening.

As I was brushing my teeth a thought struck me and rattled my fortification!

In a few hours I will be lying beside this man. With all of our boundaries clearly marked and the resisted middle ground sharply in focus. I would feel his movement, hear his breathing and smell the fresh scent of his showered skin. Close enough to reach over and feel his strong shoulders or taste his kiss.

UGH…nowhere to hide and only so far to move before I fell off the edge! How ironic. My day of avoidance would culminate in a 76” X 80” space.

That’s when I saw him. My man came to me.

And thus the conflict ended. As I type, I don’t even remember if anyone was right – funny how that happens. Our conflict resolved as we both released our destructive rightness and the guards around our hearts. We were then able to dialogue and move forward together. Yes, even fight together for our good.

The only marriage advice my grandmother ever gave me was, “Robyn, never let the sun go down with something wrong between the two of you. Be sure you talk about it, own your part and for goodness sake release yourself from being his sparring partner.” Apparently, she knew all about the close spaces of the night.

And there it was… sweet middle ground.

Amazingly, it was ever so much closer than we thought.

Robyn Whitakernbsp
Robyn Whitaker lives in Texas with her beloved husband of 32 years. She has an adventurous heart that is learning to breathe. Lover of truth, seeker of story, aspiring author and newborn dreamer, this mother of three is in search of redemption and living her Kingdom purpose.