and it is NOT my spouse.
Marriage Works! (@mrgwrks) tweet, “Ideally, spouses should be in competition against an unhealthy marriage [not one another]” reminded me of the first time my wife and I attended Family Life’s Weekend to Remember conference. At the conference one of the first things the facilitators told us to do was to look at our spouse and realize that they were not our enemy. Sad to say but that was a light bulb moment for the both of us. Up until that point we had been competing in our marriage. Probably for control or trying to control that over which we had no control. We each were trying to change the other person by denying what they needed until they provided what we needed. Think about that last sentence for a minute and you’ll realize how utterly futile that is.
I’d like to say that light bulb moment at the conference changed things for us at that moment. It didn’t. We had new, good information but we hadn’t yet connected enough of the dots (do you really ever connect all of the dots in marriage?).
We had began to discuss the concept of neither of us having our “love needs” met in the current environment of our marriage when my wife called me to tell me I needed to listen to Focus on the Family. Dr. Emerson Eggrichs was the guest that day discussing his book Love & Respect . Love and Respect is the book that got us on a more healthy path because it helped us to realize that controlling our reactions would help our marriage, our spouse, and ourselves. We recognized The Crazy Cycle spinning in our marriage and recognizing any cycle in your marriage is the first step in breaking that cycle.
From that point on we became a team working for a better marriage instead of two individuals striving to get their needs met. Actually, let me reword that. From that point on we [grew up some] and became a team working for a better marriage instead of two [immature, selfish] individuals striving to get their needs met. It took us too long to realize what we were doing wrong. That’s why today we’re marriage mentors in our church. That’s why today I write this blog. I hope that there are those out there reading with the wisdom to learn from the mistakes we made.
No, my marriage was never in trouble. Comparatively speaking we had a very good marriage before Love and Respect the marriage is just better now. Why? Because we’re a more mature team in competition against an unhealthy marriage and not two immature, selfish individuals competing to get our needs met.