Posted on Tuesday, February 8, 2011
in Emotional, How To, Relational, Social
Do not try to change the other person the change starts with us.
When Amy and I were going through our pre-marital counseling our pastor, Ralph Gustafson, counseled us, had us take a couple of tests and had us read some insightful books.
Each of those pieces helped us prepare for marriage, but not one of them helped me to prepare for myself in marriage.
I was as in love with Amy as I knew how to be. I made vows and intended to keep them. I promised devotion, loyalty and faithfulness. All of that made so much sense. I just had no idea how hard it would be.
Amy, if you know her, is an amazing, kind, caring, patient and sensitive woman. She has been wise beyond her years since she was a teen. Amy routinely puts others before herself. The problem has not been with Amy, the problem is me.
I continually battle with selfishness and self-pity – I want things my way, now, and I might pout if they don’t go my way.
I was completely unaware how often subtle things would bug me: a noisy rocking chair, a bouncing leg, clicking fingernails, how toilet paper should be hung, how toothpaste tubes should be squeezed, or talking during TV shows.
Amy even had the audacity to think that my breath should smell less like baby diapers – my words not hers.
Conflict within relationships is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be terminal. In order to work through the frustrations we have some practices that help us stay on the right track.
One of them is simply stated: Let us always be honest and transparent.
In doing so we help each other to be the very best person that they can be, sometimes at the expense of our own selfish preferences.
What’s it take to have that kind of mindset? “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”
[Ephesians 4:2, NLT]
Or, in other words, “patiently put up with each other and love each other. Try your best to let God’s Spirit keep your hearts united. Do this by living at peace.” [Ephesians 4:2-3, CEV]
Love is work.