Have you ever been triggered by something your spouse did or said?
There was a season in my marriage when this was happening often to me. It was almost like my husband knew just what buttons to push to send me over the edge… and he pushed them. Not intentionally, of course…
We’d inevitably end up engaging in conflict, and my pride and desire to be “right” would quickly rear its ugly head. (Any other cholerics out there?) Many times, I wasn’t humble enough to admit my part in the dispute. I much preferred to play the victim, blame my husband for “making me” lose my temper, and call out the ways that he should’ve acted differently. Occasionally, we’d achieve resolution, but most of the time, these disputes created even more division between the two of us.
I knew our fights were not in keeping with God’s design for marriage, but I had no idea how to engage in conflict in any other way… and, honestly, “I was afraid… so I hid.” (Gen 3:10).
(Little did I know that God in His supreme goodness would provide the way, even though I never really even asked Him for one…)
In the midst of my hiding and deep despair, I stumbled across Metanoia Catholic. The more I listened to Matt and Erin teach, the more I desired to learn. Willing to try just about anything to find greater fulfillment in my marriage, I started journaling and quickly started to see real change. It was so simple, yet so profound!
Venerable Fulton Sheen once said, “To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.”
I remember sitting in the living room one night. I had just finished praying with scripture when my husband, noticeably upset with me, came into the room and began to raise his voice at me (something we frequently did with one another during conflict). For the first time, I just sat there and listened with my heart and mind guarded in Christ. By God’s grace in that moment, I knew my dignity as a beloved daughter of God and I knew my husband’s as a beloved son. I didn’t feel offended, but instead, I felt a sense of peace “that surpassed all understanding” (Philippians 4:6). I knew his actions were being fueled from his emotions, which were coming from his thoughts…and I knew I still had the freedom to decide how I wanted to think, feel, and act in that moment.
That night is etched into my memory. It was the first night I caught a glimpse of the fruit of the Catholic mindset work I was doing. It took just that – work- to get there, but the reward was a more “noble character” and growth in virtue.
In that grace-filled moment, by not engaging in the fight that night, I experienced a level of devotion to my husband that I hadn’t experienced before. After taking time to pray and journal, we were both able to clearly and vulnerably talk through everything the very next day, with minds that had been renewed by Christ.
We read in 1 Peter 3, “Likewise, you wives should be subordinate to your husbands so that, even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word by their wives’ conduct when they observe your reverent and chaste behavior. Your adornment should not be an external one: braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, or dressing in fine clothes, but rather the hidden character of the heart, expressed in the imperishable beauty of a gentle and calm disposition, which is precious in the sight of God.” (v. 1-4).
I’ve turned to this scripture time and time again as I grow in becoming the wife God is calling me to be. Those of you who are married already know that two becomingone is not a destination we arrive at fully on our wedding day. It’s more like an unfolding… one that continues to reveal deeper and deeper layers with each year of marriage.
By growing in awareness and learning how to capture and release the Enemy’s lies that have sown division in our marriage, we now have clarity and experience even greater intimacy and communion through conflict.
This summer, my husband, Mark, and I are inviting those of you in the Metanoia Catholic Academy who are married to join our 6-week small group, Metanoia in Marriage. In these 6 weeks, we’ll be welcoming you (virtually) into our home, into our marriage, and into the abundance we have received since beginning our journey with Metanoia Catholic. Not only will we be sharing with you ALL of the Metanoia Catholic mindset tools that helped us start keeping our cool in conflict, but we’ll also be helping you reclaim the time to communicate with your spouse and have more meaningful conversations that will draw you closer in a way you never thought possible!
Hi! We are Mark and Abby Dufrene. We’ve been married for five years and live in south Louisiana with our two rambunctious little boys. Together, we have upwards of 25 years of ministry experience – plus, we are both professional therapists, in one sense of another. Mark has a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and Abby worked for several years as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist.
Even though it seemed like everything was going “right” for us, we felt stuck and the trajectory of our family and marriage heading in the direction we did not want it to go. We recognized that we did not have the formation or the skills to communicate clearly and intentionally with one another, and ultimately, we both began to question God and this “life of abundance” that He promises to us. But once we discovered Metanoia Catholic’s mindset coaching, everything changed!
Fast forward and now we are both graduates of the Purgative Way Coach Training and are excited to join the team as resident coaches here at Metanoia Catholic! We experienced so much growth and transformation in our own marriage and are excited for this opportunity to lead other Catholic couples to greater intimacy and communion through learning how to communicate more effectively with one another.