January 27, 2005

Lesson from Ephesians

Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love.
--Ephesians 4:2 (New Living Translation)


Learning to adjust to married life is such a fun thing. Well...okay, it's not fun while you're learning, but it sure is funny when you reflect.

First you go through the lovey-dovey stage. In this stage, everything your lover does is wonderful and cute. They can do no wrong. In fact, you say, "Wrong? What do you mean, 'wrong'? There is nothing wrong with him/her at all!"

Sure!

You're doting and loving to a fault. You hang on to his every word. Everything he says and does is perfect in your eyes. There could never be another man on the face of the earth more perfect than he.

Around Year 2 of marriage, reality begins to sink in. He's not quite as perfect as you thought. Little things start getting on your nerves. What happened to your "perfect" man? He starts slacking. He starts lacking. Somewhere along the way you start taking mental notes.

'He didn't take the garbage out today.'
'He forgot my birthday.'
'He forgot our ANNIVERSARY!'
'He didn't kiss me when he got home from work.'


One day you wake up and realize that now instead of feeling only love and adoration for this person you vowed to be with for the rest of your life, your mental list has turned into a Pandora's box of intense dislike. But it doesn't end there.

Now you have reached a place where you keep track of his faults. Oh yes, you mark them off daily, one by one. Your list is so long now that you are literally buried in a mound of mental paperwork. Forget filing them all away. You actually enjoy swimming in them.

It doesn't stop there, though.

Now in addition to your list of faults, you have started a new list. This one is called, "He can do no right." Because you've kept track of his mistakes for such a long time, it is oh-so-easy to pick and point out every little thing he does wrong. There is no way for him to wiggle his way out of this list. Oh no, this one is much worse than the first.

When you reach Stage 3, you have now traveled beyond keeping record of all his faults. You have successfully reached a point where you can see absolutely no good in your husband at all. Everything he does gets on your nerves.

'Why can't he open the lid on the hamper and put his clothes inside, instead of throwing them on top?'

'Good grief! You'd think he could rinse his own whiskers out of the bathroom sink!'

'Why in the world does he have to put the empty ice tray in the sink? Why doesn't he just fill it back up with water and put it in the freezer again?'

'Am I the only one around here who knows how to operate a vacuum cleaner?'


Sound familiar?

I think we all go through cycles in our marriages. It's only natural. We want things done a certain way, regardless. Compromise? That's a dirty word! Give in every once in a while? A sin!

Sometimes it takes drastic measures to open our eyes and slap us back into reality. This is exactly what has happened to me over the last several months.

I have learned that:
  • Dirty laundry on top of the clothes hamper instead of "in" isn't worth arguing over.
  • Whiskers dried in the bathroom sink could mean that he was in a hurry that day. It only takes 1 minute to wipe the bowl clean.
  • An empty ice tray in the sink is really not that big of a deal.
  • A dirty floor is a sign of a happy home.

It's amazing how we tend to treat others with greater respect than those we love. This verse from Ephesians speaks volumes. Modesty mixes well with a soft-spoken word. A sweet spirit will enable you to be patient with the ones you love (even when they do get on your nerves!). And above all, realizing not one of us is perfect in any way will help us to tolerate the flaws we see in others.