Do you ever wish your marriage was easier? Friendlier? Different?
Everyone who has been married for more than about 10 minutes has a moment or two when the twinkle in their eye turns into a hard glint and they wonder exactly what universe their spouse inhabits and how it ever connected with their own long enough to say, “I do”!
Last week, after several weeks of lack of communication in our household due to sickness, parenting, and busyness, I was having one of those moments. You know the ones… when your temper is short, the chip on your shoulder is large, and you find yourself wanting to snatch yourself bald in frustration!
Oh, those are the moments ripe for shoving your foot in your mouth.
Fortunately for me, this time, wisdom intervened and the perspective I gained from them helped me re-establish communication with my husband in a kind, authentic, and thoughtful way. Can I share it with you?
First, two blogs posted the same quote from Elizabeth Elliot on the same day, so I found two emails stating the same thing when I turned on the computer:
“A wife, if she is very generous, may allow that her husband lives up to perhaps eighty percent of her expectations. There is always the other twenty percent that she would like to change, and she may chip away at it for the whole of their married life without reducing it by very much. She may, on the other hand, simply decide to enjoy the eighty percent, and both of them will be happy.”
(As quoted in Feminine Appeal, Mahoney, p 41)
Well. Doesn’t that stink to read from two sources right when you’re hitting your stride in a hissy fit?!
I was so disgruntled about the truth in this statement that later that day I complained to a girlfriend. She whapped me over the head with another simple, profound illustration:
“If you were a coach, say of a soccer team, you’d be intentional about every player you put on the field, right?” my wise friend said. I agreed with her premise.
“If you want a really competitive team you make sure you have the right person on the field for the right position. And once you’ve gotten that dynamic team put together, you guard it very carefully.” She waited for my nod before going on.
“If you were that coach, after really investing in each of those players and teaching them their positions – would you pull the goalie out and ask them to be a striker?” she asked me. “Of course not! Because they are the goalie and they’re excellent at being a goalie… and there is another player who is excellent in the forward position.”
“You’d never expect your keeper to score for you because that’s not their gifting; you’d also never put your forward in the box and expect them to accomplish a shut out.” By this time I knew where she was going but somehow managed to keep my mouth shut and not interrupt her.
“Your spouse has been designed to play a position on the “Life Team” that is perfect for them… but they aren’t created to play every single position on the field and it’s not fair to ask them to do that,” she said. “Instead, why not celebrate them for the role they do fill with excellence and back off the criticism when they aren’t perfect in every way?”
Makes sense to me! Isn’t it awesome when your friends are incredibly smart?! Hope this perspective helps you as much as it did me this week!
Here’s to giving your spouse grace… and a prompt to celebrate them for what they do best this week!
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