I’ve been thinking a lot about selflessness and relationships. Now before you quit reading and say “I never do anything for myself, I’m always giving to others. This isn’t for me.”, hang with me for a minute. I’ve heard people say that marriage is about giving 50/50. I call baloney. Marriage is 100/100. I’m pretty sure my husband gives well over his share of the 100. I’m a very spoiled wife. For instance, right now, I’m hanging out at a resort with our 5 kids while he is working with some friends to do some updating on the Mack Pack Ranch. He comes to sleep here and is covered in dust and sweat and leaves early in the morning. I definitely got the better end of this deal.
After 17 years of marriage, I can tell you it’s not all wonderful, but even in the not wonderful, we are committed to sticking with each other & communicating. I remember when we were dating he would try to pick fights with me to see how I would react. I’m pretty laid back & easy going so not much ruffles my feathers. I think it frustrated him most that he couldn’t get a decent fight out of me! We’ve have some decent fights over the years, but we have some rules.
1.Fight Fair: The only things up for fighting are the immediate issue at hand. Bringing up things that happened years ago or even weeks ago are not fair. Take care of the issue when it occurs and don’t let anger fester over time. After all, memories become cloudy and perceptions of how events went down get muddy over time. If it’s worth bringing up at all, bring it up soon after not in the future.
2. That being said, when your spouse ticks you off in a public place or when you’re with friends, that is NOT the place to fight. It is appropriate to say something like “I didn’t appreciate the way you spoke to me, treated me, etc. Let’s talk about this later.” It’s not fair to everyone you’re with to have to witness the nasty mess so for their sake, take it home and then have it out.
3. Words that aren’t allowed in a fight: You always, you never, I want a divorce. It’s also not allowed to compare ourselves to other couples.
There are lots of things a couple can do, but the most important thing is to think of the feelings of the other person first. If BOTH of you are doing this, you’ll both feel spoiled. What are things you can do to make your spouse’s life easier? It doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be as simple as having the coffee ready to brew when he gets up in the morning. Or just sending her away for an hour without the kids to make a Target run alone! (That is an amazing experience, I must say!)
I mentioned in my last blog post that I loved using the ideas for date nights from The Dating Divas. They began as a group of friends who wanted to support marriages and help them thrive. It’s grown into more than just creative date nights and now offers enrichment resources that will challenge you and help your marriage. I dare you download the 10 Days to Divorce Proof Your Marriage. It may start out one sided at first, but I can almost promise that when you start in on those daily goal sticky notes, it won’t be long until you see a change in your marriage for the better. I remember reading The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian when we were first married. One thing that has always stuck with me from that book was to pray “Lord, change me,” rather than “Lord, change him.” It’s pretty funny how God begins to change our hearts and those things that we wanted Him to change about our spouse seem less of an issue as we focus on the things we need to change in our own lives.
Let me know if you give it a try. I’m praying your marriages thrive and that you draw closer to each other and to the Lord thru the next 10 days.