Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Marriage Ref

Have you seen this show?  I just saw it recently - hysterical.  Three couples come on with a dispute and a panel of three celebrities, some of whom are not married or are divorced, determine which spouse is right and at the end the audience decides on the most right spouse and that person gets a billboard in their city that says they were right.  I would totally go on this show. 

Let me say this, the disputes are never over anything big (the one I saw, one of the women was spending too much decorating her doll house), and the celebrity panel very frequently sides with the woman even in situations where there is no way the woman should win the argument.  This is why I would be a perfect contestant.  Odds are, I would win given the predisposition toward women, and Bray and I aren't fighting over anything big. 

But we have gotten frustrated lately.  Over little stuff.  I didn't like his schedule one week or he didn't like that I was too opinionated on how the kids ate something at dinner.  These petty disputes are just annoying, we're not dealing with adultery or addiction, so these aren't issues that could end a marriage - or could they? 

I can only speak for myself, and maybe speak a little bit for women in general, but I think we sometimes let little things go too far.  These aren't "bet the farm" disputes, so we (either spouse) decides it's not worth it to get into a wrangle over it - we'll just be a little short in conversation or we'll ignore it or we'll forget to kiss the other one goodbye that morning.  No big deal. 

But it adds up.  One. Thing. After. Another.  And it wears away at the fabric of a marriage.  Until the fabric frays and eventually tears.  Lysa TerKeurst, in a book called Capture His Heart, calls it the dangers of a leaky faucet.  I studied this book in a summer bible study and it revolutionized how I thought about my marriage and how I treated my marriage and Bray.  For a while.  But work got busy, I had triplets, and the drip drip drip began again without paying the attention I had previously to that leaky faucet.  When Bray and I went to hear Gary Chapman speak this summer (author of Five Love Languages) he said, "Marriages either get better or worse.  They never stay the same."  Boy, that statement hit me.  I'd allowed myself to believe that as long as I wasn't doing anything proactively to hurt the marriage, it was okay that I wasn't doing much proactively to help it.  But it's one or the other, your marriage today will be better or worse than it was yesterday.  And the next day.  And next month.  And next year.  You have to make the decision which way it will go. 

In Capture His Heart, Lysa starts the book by saying that even the best husband makes a poor god.  She talks about how she would leave her driveway crying wondering, why does it have to be so difficult, why is everything such an issue, what's wrong?  She became so consumed trying to figure out how how to make everything right and figure out how to get the love she needed that her husband became her god.  And this is what she ultimately resolved: "My spirit should not vacillate between joy and sorrow based on how Art and I are getting along.  Instead, my soul should always rest in the safety of Jesus' unconditional love and acceptance." 

If you have some drip, drip, drips in your marriage, then let me present to you the same challenge that I've given to myself:  (a) don't let our husbands become our god so that our emotional well being is entirely dependent on how the marriage is going that day (for good or bad), (b) make an effort every day to affirmatively improve upon our marriages, because it will get worse if it doesn't get better, and (c) take the time to fix leaky faucet issues before they systematically erode the beautiful relationship that God has given us until death do we part.

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