(Editor's note: This article is the third of a four-week series on strengthening the marriage relationship.)

I love country music, particularly the older, more traditional stuff from the 70s and 80s. Fellow Kentuckian John Conlee sings the song, "Rose-Colored Glasses." I've often heard it described as a song of self-deceit. It's a slow ballad, in typical honky-tonk fashion, that describes a couple with a lot of underlying issues. One can only speculate on the couple's issues, but it would seem to me that they are being ignored. I guess instead of dealing with or confronting the problem, he decides to look through "rose-colored glasses" hoping for a more alluring view.

So while the song describes a man trying to see things with delusive optimism, he is full of negativity, hurt, and one might even assume, anger. I love this sad song, but it breaks my heart that there people who live day-by-day with such tension and heartache. I can't help but think just how many struggle to keep things going looking through their own rose-colored glasses? How many wrestle with their own issues and anger? How many have unresolved animosity? How many long for the day when they, as in the song, desire to "lay these rose-colored glasses aside" and live with a peaceful heart?

So what is stopping them? Why not lay aside the false assurance and look for real hope and true workable resolutions? I suppose there are times when this seems impossible. Letting go of the anger is sometimes difficult. It's the fight, flight, or freeze type response.

I don't pretend to think this is an easy task. Those hurtful actions, words, or behaviors plague a person. These matters are not always so straight forward in that a person can simply lay aside the hurt and not ever think of such again. Reality is much different.

King David grappled with such issues -- Saul wanted to kill him, nations raged in opposition, marital problems, his son led a coup against him, and he expierienced horrific family struggles. In spite of all of that, he was known as a man after God's heart. The song of David is a much different response:

Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And put your trust in the Lord.
There are many who say,
"Who will show us any good?"
Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety
--Psalm 4:4-8 (NKJV)

Be angry and do not sin -- that's it? So you're saying that is the advice you have for me and my wife? You may be getting angry just reading the words. Fair enough, but before you get your feathers all ruffled up hear how David poignantly expresses the depth of his soul. David cries out to God, "Hear me when I call, O God," as he pours out his pain. His raw emotion pleading with God for help to do what seems impossible.

Perhaps the fundamentals are found in the next passages -- "meditate within your heart… offer the sacrifice of righteousness… and put your trust in the Lord." Now, there's something that we can hang our hat on.

So what does it mean to "meditate within my heart?" Too many arguments are about pointing the finger at our spouse. Because certainly none of the issue is our own fault, or maybe we play a part in this too. Not saying that you do; but if you did, maybe you need to adjust part of your own behavior as well.

That's not a fun thought. I don't like to think of myself as making mistakes in the relationship. It's true, sometimes I need to learn new things and grow in my understanding. It could be that I need to relax for a moment, take a bit of a break, and reflect on what the issues are really about. While we don't want to put on our rose-colored" glasses, it could be that we need to lay aside our anger long enough for cooler heads to prevail.

I think that when we are able to do this we "offer our sacrifice of righteousness." Maybe by doing this we are able to process our anger and other emotions enough to understand what it is that's got us all wound up in a hissy. It happens to the best of us at times. If you slow things down a bit, trusting God, I believe that you will find that you can lay those "rose-colored glasses aside."

For more information, email Chaplain Claypool at todd.a.claypool.mil@mail.mil or call the Chaplain Family Life Center at (502) 624-5225/8441.