A funny thing happened when Shauna started feeling treasured: About 75% of our conflict evaporated into thin air. I’m serious!
You’d think I would have been completely thrilled, but I wasn’t. Sure, I enjoyed our new relationship and the deepening intimacy. We both did. But I was kinda ticked, too. Not at Shauna. No, I was too in love with her for that. I was mad at God… sorta.
Here’s the thing: It felt like my issues were 25% of the problem, but my recent epiphany had been 75% of the solution. I mean, I was already doing all the right stuff. All I’d changed was my attitude, I reasoned. Was it really fair that so much of our future depended on me? Basically, I was whining (Ray Romano-like) at the inequity of it all. I see now that Shauna probably viewed the equation in reverse, but still. 🙂
Here’s the thing: Most of the time, couples like us are so busy trying to assign blame that no one’s taking healthy responsibility. Blame is typically weighted one direction or another. Someone is more to blame than the other. Responsibility, on the other hand, is always shared equally. Accepting blame leads to guilt, whereas accepting responsibility leads to resolution (and lots of great kissing).
Responsibility is always about me and me alone. Even if it were possible for Shauna to be 100% to blame for something, I would still be 100% responsible for my response. When you’re thinking blame, you meet your spouse half way… at best. When you’re taking responsibility, “you’ll walk five hundred miles, and walk five hundred miles more, just to be the fool who’d walk a thousand miles to fall down at (their) door…” Bottom line, blame-casting is a smokescreen that hides our stubborn refusal to take responsibility.
Sure, yes. Wonderful. But I’m also a man. A husband. And marriage, remember, is a living picture of Christ (husband) and his church (the bride). This is where I got more than a little frustrated. My role in our relationship is to “play” the part of Christ. Which means that when push comes to shove, I must be the first one to reach out, the first one to forgive, the first one to take the first step, the first one to let love cover a multitude of sins. My job is to represent a perfectly patient Saviour with a heroic love for his beloved. Shauna’s job is to model an imperfect church learning to love him back.
I don’t like this. It ain’t fair. But when all is said and done, after I’ve had my little pity party/temper tantrum prayer-off, Jesus still looks me in the eye, pats me on the back, and says, “Welcome to my world.” In other words, deal with it.
Treasuring Shauna is a deliberate act. When I choose the blame path, I’m choosing not to see her like Jesus does. Before long, I can all too easily slide back into just doing my husbandly duty. I think that was happening the past few weeks, to be honest—so writing this story and remembering our journey has worked wonders for me of late. I realize more and more that duty will keep us married, but it won’t keep us in love. When there’s something missing in our relationship, it’s usually my heart for her. Her love and respect for me thrives when I’m treasuring her, which makes it that much easier to treasure some more. It’s that simple.
I hope this has been a good read for you, but more, a challenge from God’s heart to yours… to truly see who you’re married to.
One more tomorrow: Who’s in charge?
In reading today’s section of the story, I want to say that I think it is just as equally important for the wife to do the same. I have a point in my head that I’m trying to make, but it’s not coming out LOL. I know of a few men, who’s marriages have ended…even after they have tried everything to get help and make the marriage work. Sometimes it’s the woman that needs to step it up a notch, even if it doesn’t come natural and means risking more than we think we can take.
I’m so sad this week as I have heard of another broken marriage, due to infidelity. I just pray that if there are couples struggling in their marriage (today) that they would read your blog and be encouraged to take the bull by the reigns and trust God to make their marriage last a lifetime.
Yes, I totally agree that each partner is equally responsible before God to do their part. Good point, one I want to come through. I sure wouldn’t want a woman to read this and come to the conclusion that she’s “off the hook.” Neither partner is. We’re just on the hook in different ways. Just because the woman is playing the part of a very human church doesn’t mean she can sit back and wait for her husband to “get it.” The church is called to love Christ with all her heart, mind, soul, and strength – and a wife that isn’t moving that direction with her husband is not playing her role well. Thank you Father, for your grace for both of us!
At our 7-year itch/war is when our marraige hit bottom and we both found God there. It was a terrible time but so worth it in the end. Thanks for sharing this Brad and Shauna!
Could you explain a little more about your take on the man and woman’s roles in marriage? Surely women are not exempt from the responsibility of living like Christ and being the first to reach out/take the first step/forgive, etc? Yes it is appreciated when the man takes initiative, but aren’t wives required to display Christ to their husbands in the same way, or is there something I’m misunderstanding?
You bet, Janessa. Just published a whole new post on that. Peace!
thank you brad.
I think you are on to something here! Kudos to the men who swallow their pride, stop placing blame, and treasure their wives. They may be annoyed but also end up blessed in return! The husband is the initiator and the wife is built to be the responder. What you put out there is what you get back! I used to have issues with the head of the house thing but I see it in a totally different light now. Brad, I think with this post you could change the church!!