“Great marriages require great thinking”-The Love Dare. When you first get married it is easy to remember to be thoughtful. You’re in the ‘honeymoon phase’ where everything is still bright, shiny and new. Then the reality of life sets in. Marriage is no longer all bright, shiny and new. The realities of sharing your life with someone begin to set in. All those quirks you thought were so adorable and endearing when you dated, now begin to not be so cute. All of a sudden things become a pet peeve. And then, you really begin to see who it is you married.
I remember when we first were married. I spent most of the day cleaning the house, being ‘thoughtful’, to make sure everything waas neat and clean. My husband came home from work and while he appreciated everything I had done, he did something that really upset me. What was it? He moved the salt and pepper shakers. Seriously. He moved them! How dare he? Was he saying that the way I placed the salt and pepper shakers was not good enough? In turn, was I not a good enough wife to know where to place the salt and pepper shakers? Here I thought I was being so thoughtful and caring. Instead I was just wrong. Why should I ever be thoughtful to this man again?
I was wrong. But not in the way I thought. What I realized was that he had a quirk that was kind of OCD which compelled him to make sure everything was lined up, just so. It had nothing to do with me. It had to do with the fact that the salt and pepper shakers were out of alignment.
Are there salt and pepper shakers in your life? How often do we not realize how different we are. Men and women are different. God created us that way. Men are very good at focusing one one thing. Women are great at multi-focused thinking. If you have children, you know that is a vital skill to have! By design, God meant us to be together. He said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him’ – Genesis 2:18. Does that mean that our differences will suddenly vanish when we marry? Absolutely not. It is through thoughtfulness in our words and actions that those differences will not turn into misunderstandings. Especially a salt and pepper shaker. (which is kind of ironic if I fast forward years ahead as to the scene in Fireproof-don’t know what I am talking about? Watch the movie!) 🙂
When I realized that my husband was just being who he is and not being thoughtless, it changed how I viewed the situation. I was able to chalk it up to his quirkiness and not think that it had anything to do with me.
How thoughtful are you being in your words and actions? Are you taking the time to find out what makes your spouse tick? Are you filtering your words? Are you stopping before you say something that might be hurtful?
What are the unspoken messages that your spouse is giving you? I think when you’re with someone long enough you ‘just know’ when something is on your spouse’s mind. I know I do. There have been countless times when my husband walks past me and I can just sense that something is up. Something is going on in his mind. I can, at that point, choose to ignore it. I mean, do I really want to know? What if it has something to do with me? Most of the time, I will ask him if he is ok, or if he needs to talk about anything. In the past when we were in the valley, he was shut down and would automatically say, ‘Nothing’. It used to drive me crazy because I was being thoughtful and knew something was going on, but he wasn’t ready to say anything. The next part is really important. At those times, pray! Pray that God will open your spouse’s heart. Satan has a real nasty way of causing people to shut down. It’s destructive. It’s not healthy. It’s not of God. God gave you all the tools you need to rebuke Satan. Your job is to use them!
It’s time to seek God. It is time to be understand and appreciate the differences and see them as blessings. It is time to be thoughful in our words and actions.
Contact your spouse sometime during the business of the day. Have no agenda other than asking how he or she is doing and if there is anything you could do for them.
At the end of the day, answer these questions:
1. What did you learn about yourself or your spouse by doing this today?
2. How could this become a more natural, routine, and genuinely helpful part of your lifestyle?
Congratulations! You have completed Day 4! Tomorrow’s dare is Love is not rude.