Tuesday, I blogged about Dare 26, a reader’s experience with her husband when he was acting angry, and the battle that rages in our hearts toward each other in marriage.
The big “A-Ha!” findings from Shaunti Feldhahn’s new book, Highly Happy Marriages, is that couples that are actually happy are doing these things:
- Paying attention to the “little signs of affection” daily – they matter a TON. We have a list of those for men and one for women to help you.
- Believing the best about their spouse – happy couples frequently refer back to “I know she loves me,” or “I know he doesn’t mean that,” instead of assuming the worst or creating negative motive for their spouse.
- Surprise – they go to bed mad. They don’t do conflict late at night, often because they realize the outcome won’t be good because they’re tired.
- They pay attention to the good things their spouse does – and thus do things their spouse likes – on purpose – to help them when they are having a rough spell, for example, “they pick up the slack” when the other is injured, stressed, or super-busy.
- They choose to be in charge of their feelings instead of letting their feelings dictate their behavior – which results in the ability to see what is True, Philippians 4:8 style.
- They live in a state of conscious wonder – gratitude toward their spouse and what s/he does.
- And the most important secret? They have Jesus Christ at the center of their marriage – both husband and wife have deep relationship with Jesus Christ such that they serve each other happily, and trust God with the outcome in tough situations.
- And many more. It’s a book worth getting.
How is this related to how I hurt a sweet woman? 🙂
Yesterday, I read Debbie Hitchcock’s blog. She is our operations director at Greater Impact and blogged about a ministry head that hurt her – I was that person. If you haven’t read it, you need to. Better yet, subscribe – she’s a wise godly woman!
Last night, I called her, and I said, “Your blog! You protected my identity, which is sweet, but you know you could have totally sold me out, right?” She laughed. She and I have had our share of conflict, seriously, but we always work towards God’s Best in those situations – and she is wise in describing our relationship as “like a marriage.” As I was reading Shaunti’s book, of course I was looking at my own marriage, but what really stood out to me is that the above points, (and more) are represented in Debbie and my partnership in ministry.
I asked her if she was okay with me selling myself out here today – because I wanted to share with you her heart, and how we (I!!) am not perfect at this stuff, even though we write about it.
I know I hurt her on the day she talks about in her blog. I am thankful that she is a mature woman and not only received my apology, but did what God wanted her to do anyway. I have hurt her since – and she’s hurt me, too. But we LIVE the above 7+ because what we do is centered around point #7 – Jesus Christ.
At the retreat we recently had, I realized that I am still doing it. One of the “themes” became apparent as several of our team members told their story of how they contacted me and were ignored. The phrase of the day became, “I wrote Nina and got crickets.”
I was thankful for the opportunity to apologize to these sweet women, and thankful for their honesty, perseverance, and that they still work with me.
And God used that information to help me “get it.” We have now instilled several practices and added people to the team to help others feel more connected – hopefully avoiding crickets! – and keep me from drowning in the plethora of communication that occurs – and as a result, treating people the opposite of what I want to treat them, as precious.
So I wonder, today, if we looked at our marriage as the place where we do ministry, if we’d stop taking each other or our kids for granted, stop treating each other or our children worse than we’d ever treat co-workers, neighbors, fellow church members, etc., and instead realize that we are to treat ALL of His children, including those who don’t even know Him, as precious.
And if you are one of the many who have contacted me and received “crickets” that I haven’t apologized to, I am so very sorry! I know what it is like to try to connect, get help, ASK, and be ignored – it hurts, it makes you feel even more invisible and alone than you already are. I’m so sorry to have done this to you.
So what about you? What is He saying to you today about all of these things? Would love to dialogue with you about it today! 🙂
And I’m so glad we are on the journey together. It’s less lonely, isn’t it?
Love to you,