One idea on how you can have a better marriage (or future marriage) September 19, 2016 / Brad
We'll call this Marriage Tip Monday! I'm going to share one idea with you on how you can have a better marriage. (or future marriage)
Ready? Here goes...
Quit being needy.
Okay, I guess that sounds condescending and needs some explanation.
Tanya and I celebrated our twenty second wedding anniversary this past Saturday. We didn’t just survive twenty two years – we actually enjoyed those twenty two years! For twenty two years we have mostly avoided the drama that has seems to surround so many marriages. How is that? Simple, just let the perfect man marry the perfect woman! Just kidding.
We both recognize that what we have is not very common in our world. I honestly think we lucked into many of the things that have made our relationship work so well. The simple truth is that many of the things that have made it work are a direct result of our faith and the way it informs how we treat each other. I recognize that neither of those are things we can take credit for. The good news is the principles that have worked for us are transferable. I don’t think something as complex as relationships can be boiled down to one magic pill to keep it healthy, but I do believe the one principle I’m going to share can certainly help.
Here it is, and get ready for the most unromantic thing you’ve ever heard; I don’t need her, and she doesn’t need me. Now, that’s probably an extreme way to say it, and probably not entirely accurate, but let me offer an explanation.
The funny thing about need is that it creates expectations. Often those expectations are unrealistic. When I need something from someone, and they don’t deliver, I immediately have unmet expectations. Unmet expectations creates tension. Unmet expectations built up over time creates resentment. Ongoing unmet expectations create feelings of anger, and eventually disdain. If that happens once, or every once in a while, you usually get over it. When that happens repeatedly, it begins to build into a mountain of problems. So, what if you adjusted your approach? What if you quit viewing the other person in the relationship through the lens of need and expectation?
Yes, I hear you asking, “what about _______? Should I just let that go? Should I just ignore it when they _______?” I’m not suggesting that unhealthy tendencies should go unchecked, I’m just suggesting a paradigm shift in the way you approach relationships in your life. Remember, this is not a magic pill, but rather an adjustment in the way you approach relationships. When you begin to approach people in your life from a place of serving, things get a lot more freeing.
Love works best when it is something you give without expectation of return. When you approach marriage from the standpoint of what you can give, and not from the place of what you expect/need, it is very freeing. Example: When I get home and the dinner I was expecting hasn’t been made yet I have two choices…
1.) I can feel disappointed. I can then express that disappointment through my words, or through my actions and attitudes. This creates tension and stress… those are usually bad things in a relationship. Tension and stress kill intimacy.
2.) I can choose to put aside my unmet expectation and begin to serve my wife and family by starting dinner for them. This immediately creates a different dynamic.
Here’s another thought on the flipside of that - when I get home and dinner is made, and my default wasn’t to just expect it, then I am grateful for my wife and for the effort she put into making that dinner. Just an observation, people who feel appreciated are much warmer and loving in return. This is good… trust me. And, when you have two people dedicated to approaching each other from that perspective it creates something special. **Bonus thought** If you are a follower of Christ I believe this is a non negotiable. You can’t honor God if you aren’t honoring your spouse. Your relationship with the people around is a direct reflection of your relationship with God. Truth bomb. You're welcome.
By the way, this concept works in every arena of life. If you are a leader, try it. If you are a parent, try it. If you are a friend, try it.
For God so loved, that He gave… you should give it a try. Reminder - this starts with you. Don't expect it of them. You go first, remove the expectations, and free yourself to serve others in love. Galatians 5:13-15