Monday, June 29, 2015

An Illusion of Marriage...And What to Do About It


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I recently ran across a quote by psychologist Georgia Shaffer that made me stop and think. 
In our relationships, we often hold tightly to the illusion that if we say this or do that, our spouse will suddenly wake, see the error of their ways and change.  What usually happens, however, is we end up disappointed, frustrated, and even resentful.

So many times, I have mentally prepared long talks for my husband.  In my mind I made sure to be honest and use lots of “I” messages just like the psychologists tell the world to.   I explain my feelings and bare my soul.  I plan a textbook delivery and expect a movie response…only to have him in the real conversation come back with a comment that I didn’t foresee. 

Instead of him groveling for the need of forgiveness, sometimes he points out an area of weakness in my life.  Didn't see that one coming!
As painful as the quote above can be, Ms Georgia is exactly correct.  The illusion that we can change our spouse (...our children, in-laws, friends) is simply a lie we are telling ourselves.  

Seventeen years of marriage has taught me a few things about my husband.  Maybe you are struggling with the same.

1.  My husband needs time to process.  I can not expect immediate answers and changes.  Unlike my tendency to dive in, my husband takes time to think through the many avenues of the situation.  And when I am patient to give him the amount of time that he needs, the end result is better for both of us.  

2.  Sometimes what I think is an error in his way is, in actuality, an error in mine. 
My error could be a heart issue or simply an u
nrealistic expectations which he can not fulfill.  Either the saying goes, whenever you point a finger, there are always three fingers pointing back at you.

3.   The Holy Spirit does not need my help. 
Oh yes…movies show the power of words between two people, but in reality, life is not a script. The Holy Spirit does a better job than I could ever imagine changing willing hearts. Where I need to be is on my knees for my husband and not in his ear.

4.  Holding tightly to an illusion isn't helpful for either one of us.
By definition, an illusion is a false idea or belief.  Holding on to something that isn't true will never help me take the next step to lead us to the marriage I desire.
Just like unrealistic expectations can ruin a family, holding onto illusions can destroy a marriage. As the song goes, "Let is go!"

What illusions are you holding on to?