No One Can Live On a Pedestal

No One Can Live On a Pedestal

Whenever people ask me what I want to be called, I usually answer, “Mike is fine.” For some reason, a lot of people think I should go by more formal titles such as Dr. Glenn, Reverend Glenn, or Pastor Glenn. I have always been uncomfortable with titles. They put too many barriers between me and other people. Besides, Jesus was blunt on this one. We are to call no man father or teacher, for we have one Father and one Teacher.

We can be friends to each other. We can be brothers and sisters to each other, but we cannot be Jesus to each other. That role has been taken.

And we can’t be Jesus to our spouses either. Often, when you come from a broken place, the person you fall in love with can do no wrong. Your spouse is the best person in the whole world. They are way beyond anyone you ever expected to fall in love with, or even more miraculous, to have fall in love with you. They are perfect…everything they say…everything they do…

You worship the ground they walk on. You have placed them high on a pedestal.

And that’s a problem.

Your spouse can’t be Jesus to you. Your husband or wife can only be who they are. You can only be who you are. Trying to constantly live up to someone else’s unreasonable expectations quickly leads to defeat and despair. You’re not being fair to your spouse by putting this kind of pressure on them. Eventually they will stumble, and they will end up feeling like a failure.

And you can’t be Jesus to them. While it’s a rush to your ego to be put on that pedestal, the landing is brutally painful when you fall off (and you will). Besides, your husband or wife doesn’t need you to be everything to them. Becoming hyper-focused on you keeps them from growing, and it smothers you in the process.

The old preachers had a point. Eve wasn’t created from Adam’s head that she should rule over him or from his foot that he should stand on her. She was created from his side that she should stand with him.
That’s the picture we want, isn’t it? The two of you, side by side, walking wherever life may take you—content to be who you are, with and for each other

Borrowed Confidence

When you get married, you find out a lot of things no one told you about—and most of them are good.

Here’s one you may not have thought about before. When you get married, you find yourself more creative, and yes, even braver. That’s because you’ll engage the day with the confidence of two people, not just one.

There will be times when you’ll lose all of your confidence as you face a challenge. You’ll look up and think, “This mountain is too high to climb. I just can’t make it.” Then, in the back of your mind, you’ll hear your wife or husband saying, “Go ahead. Try. I believe you can.”

So, when you have no confidence of your own but borrow the confidence your spouse has in you, you try one more time. And surprise! That one last try will bring success. In fact, you’ll be left wondering how many other things you could have done if you hadn’t given up so early.

Life is hard, and it seems the challenges get tougher every day. We are so afraid of failing that we never actually try. Ironic, isn’t it? Our fear of failure actually guarantees failure. But when our spouses believe in us, we’ll find confidence we’ve never had to keep trying. And when we keep trying, we’ll find more and more success.

So what does this mean?

1. Tell your spouse you believe in them. Tell them this a lot. The world beats them up every day, and whatever confidence they had in the morning has leaked out by the time they get home.

2. Give them concrete examples of their success or qualities. Say something like, “I believe you can do this because of how you did that.”

3. Remind them that failure is rarely fatal.

4. And lastly, as Jeannie once told me, “What’s the worst thing that could happen? You try and fail. Then, you come home to me, and I’ll still love you. Now, that’s not so bad, is it?”

No, it’s not. That’s not bad at all.

Nothing Comes Naturally

Nothing Comes Naturally

I’m constantly caught off guard by the number of people I talk to who are surprised how difficult it can be to make a good marriage work. “There are so many things I didn’t expect,” they’ll say. She puts the toothpaste on the wrong side of the sink. He drinks milk out of the carton. Who knew?

To be sure, there are a million adjustments any couple has to make as they begin their lives together. Countless compromises are made and everything, it seems, has to be negotiated.

What surprises me is that this surprises the couple. How did you think it would work? That you would get married, move into your new place, and your life would be sprinkled with the fairy dust of love? Magically, then, your lives would completely sync up like data between two platforms. How disappointed we are to find out life just doesn’t work that way.

No, marriage doesn’t work that way. Nothing does. Nothing happens in our lives without intentional action. Without care, your lawn becomes a tundra of weeds and wild grasses. Without care, your car’s engine burns up because you didn’t check the oil. Neglect your house, and it will fall down around you. Stop paying attention to your computer, and viruses will lock down your OS.

The good news is that like most upkeep, taking care of your marriage is a lot easier than trying to repair it. After all, how long does it take to have the oil changed in your car? Not that long. And when you do, your car will keep on running.

How long does it take to look at your wife, ask how she’s doing, and wait patiently for an answer—the full answer?

How long does it take to plan a date? To clean the house together? To make a budget? Plan the weekly menu? Not long at all compared to how long it’ll take to repair a marriage that’s been left untended.

Did you notice there are two ways to read my title? The first is the obvious way: without effort and intention, nothing we desire comes to our marriage. The other way, of course, is the exact opposite of the first reading. Without intention, dreams don’t come. Nothing does. Neglect your marriage and your life will be filled with nothing—empty.

So, make this the week you do something. All of those things you know you should do, but for some reason never do, do them. Well, do at least one of them. You’ll be surprised by the difference in the depth and joy of your marriage when one good intention is brought into reality by action.

So, what’s on your marriage list of good things you mean to do?

Do one. Any one of them. Big or small. Let me know how it goes.