Warren Barfield Has Learned That 'Love is Not a Fight'
By Heidi Krumenauer
CBNmusic Guest Writer
Statistically, Warren Barfield and his wife, Megan, are veterans of marriage. Okay, he's not going to celebrate his golden anniversary anytime soon, but Warren still considers himself a 'veteran'. "I used to think I was too young to have an opinion about marriage but when I realized that we've been married seven years -- just shy of the average lifespan of marriage, eight years -- I thought, hey, I'm a veteran!" And at 29 years old, Warren has already learned a great deal about what it will take to reach his 70th anniversary with his bride. With wisdom beyond his young years, Warren understands how the smallest issues between couples can become monumental enough that destruction sets in if you aren’t keeping your eye on the ball.
Their fight didn’t start over infidelity or poverty or even dishonesty. It started over something as tiny as a pretzel dropped on the floor. And the small battle that escalated into a full-blown war could have ended the Barfield marriage, Warren admits. “The thing that’s the problem with us is she has her way of doing things and I have my way of doing things. Those are the things that add up. When you’re first married you’re thinking oh, I’m in love and this stuff doesn’t matter. You keep going along like that but finally one day that one tiny thing happens and you start listing all of the stuff you piled up over the years…the stuff you never wanted to discuss because you didn’t want to make a big deal out of it.” And then without planning for it, all of those things become a very big deal.
That’s what happened to Warren and Megan. A pretzel dropped on the floor and then a few more led to a screaming match between the couple, only a bedroom door separating the two of them. A houseful of guests overheard the frustration of what should have been one of their most private moments.
In the middle of the argument, Warren blurted out, “You can have everything…I just want out!” He admits that it wasn’t one of his finer moments. “I was screaming and being a big man. And here's this person that I swear I love more than anything in the world and in the middle of the argument, I didn't want to see her anymore. What makes us get to that point? I said very hateful words in that statement, and it broke her. When she started to cry, that broke me in half.” Warren believes that if Megan had been acting like he was that night – “like a jerk”, he says – it probably would have been over. “I don't know what would have happened...I might have left. For some reason, though, God's grace didn't allow that to happen.”
The pretzel argument has stuck with Warren, reminding him daily that they are not immune to losing it all. “Wow, when you think that something as stupid as a pretzel on the floor could end a marriage! I realized I have to fight for this relationship every day. I don't get to coast through it. I have to wake up every day and give Megan my time and every piece of my energy. If I don't do that, I can't expect for the marriage to last or be shocked when it doesn't. I just think when the big pretzel falls someday and I start to walk out our door, I pray that God will do something to barricade me in…that he will send angels to guard the doors.”
That's the story about how Warren realized he had to fight for his marriage. And like any good communicator Warren didn’t keep the impressionable lesson to himself – he has shared what he learned in a song that has become the most popular track off his Worth Fighting For CD (to be released on May 20).
In the song “Love is Not a Fight”, Warren simply lays out that love is not a place where two committed people come and go; it should be a place of shelter, peace and something worth fighting for.
Love is not a place
to come and go as we please
It's a house we enter in
then commit to never leave
So lock the door behind you
Throw away the key
Work it out together
Let it bring us to our knees
Love is a shelter
in a raging storm
Love is peace
in the middle of a war
If we try to leave;
May God send angels to guard the door
No, Love is not a fight
but its something worth fighting for
The lyrics have already impacted a large number of couples. Warren recalled one instance where his song literally was the catalyst for saving a marriage. “I sang the song in Jacksonville at a concert. Six months later, I came back to same venue and this guy introduces his wife and says ‘I was at the concert last time you were here. We were separated at the time…on our way to divorce. You sang that song, and I realized that night I was not fighting for my wife…I had let it go. And now we're renewing our vows next week.’” Warren said that is only one of several stories and letters that he’s heard like that. “I’ve even heard that one couple had been praying for something to be put into words to reflect their life...this was that song.”
Warren has his own sweet story about how his song impacted Megan, saying it was a statement of commitment for her. It had been sung at many concerts and was even recorded before she heard it. He saved it for a very special moment, singing it to her on their sixth wedding anniversary. “At the end of the song I sing, ‘I will fight for you, will you fight for me?’, and she said yes.”
Warren says he and Megan don’t intentionally sit down to listen to his song, but the thought and meaning have become a part of their lives. “It would be dumb for me to say we'll never get in an argument or get a divorce, but I can swear to you that I will fight for this marriage. I'm not going to allow the little things to blow up into something so huge that it tears us apart.”
‘Little things” includes the use of words, says Warren. “It’s weird how fast something as simple as ‘You didn’t fold the towels right’ starts to sound like ‘You’re impossible’. And after a while, it’s heard as ‘I’m not good enough for you.’” Warren’s first fight with Megan was over folded towels. Megan had a very specific way she wanted it done, but Warren had his own thoughts. “Really, the comments start as ‘You didn’t fold the towels the right way’, but when that all builds up over time, it turns into something really hurtful and the cuts are really deep.”
Just in case you’re wondering, Warren avoids towel-folding as much as possible. Laughing, he says, “Nope, I don’t fold them now, but when I do, I do it the way she likes it!”
One of Warren’s biggest convictions in the last year has been reading the verse that says ‘Husbands love your wives the way Christ loves the church and gave his life for her.’ “That is huge! I can't speak for my wife, but as a husband that is convicting to me because I say ‘Wait a second...Christ died for me. It wasn't his fault that I sinned. He took my sin. He had to accept something that wasn't his debt. Next time we’re in an argument, if I'm loving her the way Christ loved the church and gave his life for it, then I will accept blame and just die...I will let her win. That's love. Christ let us win!”
Warren’s convictions have started to fill a personal marriage toolbox that is packed with great advice for newlyweds and veteran couples:
- Have self-recognition and self-reflection. If there is a problem in your marriage, admit it. Don’t point the finger in the other direction. Take responsibility for your role in the marriage.
- Open up. Warren references a bible verse that says to confess your sins, one to another, that you may be healed. Find someone you can talk to and get help before things get ugly. Don’t wait for the train wreck; jump on the track long before you can see the train coming.
- Remember the example of Christ. Warren reminds couples that Jesus took the blame and He went the distance to love us; we must do the same for our spouse. We don't want to be uncomfortable, but Christ was willing to do that for us. It’s our job to treat our spouse in the same way.
- Have humility. Warren loves to win – he openly admits that. He loves to beat Megan in a good game of Monopoly and he doesn’t find it easy to let her win. He asks the question: is it worth it to win all the time – to see your spouse fail so you can be a winner? Put your arrogance aside to love your spouse better.
- Be passionate. Seeing that Megan is her parents’ pride and joy and how she is precious in their eyes, Warren recognizes how much more precious is she to God. Keep that in mind when a heated argument breaks out. How passionate are you when you’re screaming at your spouse?
- Be less selfish. Corinthians 13, also known as the ‘love chapter’, sets forth things we can do to better love our partner. Warren agrees that if we continually lived in that manner, our marriages will be strong and healthy.
- Be willing to die for something that’s not your fault. Push your pride aside. Warren adds that he’s not encouraging people to stay in an abusive marriage. “I'm talking about the small stuff…the insignificant stuff...the stuff where pride comes in and we can't say we're wrong.”
Find Warren’s new CD, Worth Fighting For, with his popular track “Love is Not a Fight” in stores on May 20. www.warrenbarfield.com
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