“IF SOMEONE YOU TRUST IS HOLDING OUT ON YOU, IT'S PROBABLY BECAUSE THEY THINK YOU ARE HOLDING OUT ON THEM.”
It happened again. I was aggravated at my wife Pamela because I thought she wasn’t coming through for me. Typically this would leave me frustrated for days, sometimes weeks, as I returned to the same thought over and over:
“She knows I depend on her for X, Y, and Z. Why wouldn’t she be doing those things?”
Each time I returned to the question, it was with more frustration and entitlement, sounding something like this:
“It’s not like I am asking for something difficult! Why can’t she just do what we talked about?”
It could be something small like putting shoes in the closet instead of setting them in front of the closet door.
“Setting shoes in front of the closet door is two feet (no pun intended) from inside the closet where they go! Am I not worth walking two feet for?!” the voice in my head would shout, minus the pun.
Other times it was something bigger, like wanting us to live a healthier lifestyle or exercise more. Probably 90% of our life together was superb, but I got so preoccupied and angry when I thought she wasn’t living up to her part of the deal that I stopped enjoying the good parts. I actually let my irritation at the 10% rob me of the 90%. I wish I would have told a friend so he could have said,
“Do the math, Dude! You’re being absurd! 90% good, 10% kinda-bad. Take a look around… you have a great deal there!”
And maybe that friend could have gone on to say something like this:
David, your entitled attitude is a quick way to end up in the lifeless marriage people have complained to you about, the one that has lost its spark and sizzle and devolved into going through the motions while daydreaming about better things. I know you don’t want an ordinary, mediocre marriage, so when you get frustrated and entitled like this, repeat after me, ‘If I am feeling like there are things that Pamela is not doing for me, then she is probably feeling like there are things that I am not doing for her. What are some things that maybe Pamela feels like I am not doing for her? In what ways, big or small, might she think I have been neglecting her?’”
Ouch. I don’t like those questions but I think in the middle of my tantrum God whispered that exact thing to me, and when he did it reminded me of a book called The Five Love Languages. I won’t explain it this week, but in the next blog I’ll talk about why I feel like Pamela loves and respects me when she does “Acts of Service” for me like keeping her clutter tidy or picking up something from the store she knows I’ll need. That's just how I am wired. But since she’s wired completely differently, odds are we each end up saying we love and respect one another in a language the other doesn’t even hear.
Danger Will Robinson!
Director of Music and Discipleship