My wife and I have a great marriage. We have our issues but we love each other and for the last ten years have been able to work things out and grow in our love. Nevertheless we do fight. One time we got in a really big fight right in front of the kids. It was not a lovers quarrel. It was one of those fights where any shred of love is void and not present.
During the argument I was yelling at my wife pretty loud while she was crying. While I was yelling my oldest daughter (who was five years old at the time) yelled over my voice crying, “Stop making my mommy cry!!!”
I stopped on a dime. It was one of those moments where I was in the middle of total emotional, irrational meltdown and was instantly brought to a clear and sober realism. I immediately apologized to my wife for being a total moron and unloving husband. I sat my kids down and apologized for not loving their mother the way she deserved and for not being a good father.
Later that night I wept. I wept hard. My wife and I held each other that night in our bed and we bawled together. That day, it was as if I took out every ounce of love and respect I had for my family and threw it out the door because I felt that my ego wasn’t being tended to. I let my pride rob my love and dignity. I caused my wife pain. I caused my children pain and fear. It scared me to see how I could run away from the thing that I needed the most (love of my wife and family). It shook me to know that my love could so easily be hidden and put away.
We have had our arguments since then both big and small. We have had our lovers quarrels on the way to church (yes…I am the pastor). We have argued at the dinner table. But since then or before then, we have not argued in such a way that any hint of love was void. I think that’s what made my daughter cry. Even at a young age, it shook her to see absolutely no hint of respect and love. We have worked hard to make sure that never happens again.