Marriage Takes 200%

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times. “Well you know, a good marriage is a 50-50 deal…”

Really? Think about that statement. Are we saying that a husband gives half and a wife gives half and that makes a good marriage?

Here’s a little secret that no one but me will tell you: No marriage is 50-50. Every marriage is 100-100. That is, the husband has to give all that he has to the marriage, and the wife has to give all that she has to the marriage. Both have to be “all in” or the marriage will gradually unravel in suspicion and doubt.

Now, here’s the other little secret no one but me will tell you. You always have to come up with 200%. That means sometimes you have to give more than your 100. There are times in our lives when life just becomes too hard, overwhelming, and even debilitating. During that time, you may only be able to give 60% to the marriage.That means your spouse will have to come up with the other 140%.

When Chris and Craig were little, Jeannie was a great mother, but twin boys took all of her time and energy. There wasn’t a whole lot left over for me. That meant whatever Jeannie couldn’t bring to the marriage, I had to carry. She couldn’t give any more. She didn’t have it. So, I had to give more.

In the same way, when I was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, I was a lousy husband. I wasn’t even a good patient. Jeannie carried our marriage. Every day, you have to come up with 200%.

In the ups and downs of life, everyone gets a turn. Sometimes, your spouse just doesn’t have it to give. You have to make up what’s lacking. At other times, your spouse will have to bring extra to the relationship. But no matter what, every day you have to come up with 200%. Anything less than that, and you’ll be coming up short.

Great marriages have never been 50-50. They’ve always been total commitments of husbands and wives who, every day, find a way to come up with 200%

Do the Little Things

Now that I’ve been doing what I do for as long as I have, people want to know about things that have surprised me. Well, that’s a hard one because I’m surprised every day by something. Every day I see something I never thought I would see. I’ve seen a human being walk on the moon and then, I watched as we got bored with going to the moon. Think about that. People got bored hearing about people going to the moon. The evening news doesn’t even cover it anymore.

But what has surprised me the most is how big of an impact little things make. Little things left unattended can add up to a big pile of trouble.

Take marriage for instance. Most marriages don’t fail because of an affair or some drastic, unforgiveable act. Most of the time love is frozen under layers and layers of anger that has built up over the years as small things have not been addressed.

A “thank you” goes unspoken, and a wife feels taken for granted.

An “I’m sorry” isn’t said, and a husband feels ignored.

None of these issues are insurmountable or even difficult to overcome in and of themselves. But, when thrown into a pile with all of the other unresolved issues, you have a big pile of pain before you know it. You can deal with this pile one incident at a time. It’s possible, but it takes a long time.

The other way is to recognize the power of each moment, no matter how small, and use each moment as an opportunity to bring your marriage closer together. Small kindnesses and gentle words are little knots that hold the whole thing together. Just like small things can add up to big problems, little acts of love add up to a very rich and satisfying marriage.

The truth is, it works both ways. Little things add up, and we get to choose whether they add up to something beautiful or painful.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is releasing the other person of the expectation they can fix what they did. They can’t. Once hurt, the hurt is yours to deal with. We take our heart to Christ in prayer and find our healing there. Christ is the only source of healing for the soul.

What a Gift Can’t Do

We’re getting down to the last few days of Christmas shopping and now, some of you guys are starting to panic. What are you going to get her now? What does she really want?

Now, add to this panic a heaping helping of guilt. Your job was a little more demanding than usual. You were tired when you got home. Fill in your own list of reasons/excuses for why you weren’t as attentive to her or your marriage as you should have been.

Now, you’ve set yourself up for a double whammy. For one thing, you’re going to spend way more on a gift than you should. This one will kick you in January…hard!

Second, the gift won’t do what you want it to do. No gift can make up for attention you didn’t give, time you didn’t spend, or affection you withheld. In fact, the gift just may backfire on you. The expensive gift may just remind her of all of the times she felt neglected, and then, she’ll get mad all over again.

So, what can a guy do in a crisis like this?

Let me offer this suggestion. Give your wife “moments” in the coming year. I know, most of you are thinking about giving your wife more time, but moments are different from time. Time is just ticks on the clock. Moments are what you do in that time.

Here’s what you do.

Sit down together and get out your calendar. Go over your year a month at a time. Plan dates with your wife, anniversary celebrations, birthdays, vacations—all a year in advance. Pay special attention to those times of your year when you know you’re going to be extremely busy. (For example, if you’re a CPA, this would be tax time). Plan something before you get busy and plan something to celebrate the end of your busy season. You can do the this for your whole family, but for this exercise, just focus on your marriage.

You’ll accomplish a couple of things by doing this:

1. You’ll make your wife the priority of your time. After all, you planned your time with her first.
2. You will give her something to anticipate. Remember being a kid at Christmas? Waiting for it is half the fun.
3. You won’t have to worry about it for an entire year. It’s already on your calendar.

Yeah, I know. This doesn’t sound very romantic, but sometimes you get the feeling and then you act. Other times, you act and the feeling comes later. Whether or not you “feel” like going out when the date comes up, once you get into the moment, you’ll be glad you planned ahead.

So, give it a try. Over the next few days sit down with your brand new, mostly empty 2017 calendar and plan your special days. Let me know how it works out. Something tells me, if you do this, Christmas will be a lot easier for you next year!

Merry Christmas!