Last Wednesday morning as Vic was tying his shoes about ready to rush out the door I said, “You know today is recycle pick-up right?” “Uh, no I did not...not even on my radar.” He replied. “Yea, it gets picked up the first Wednesday of the month with the trash...I thought you knew that?” I stated, somewhat puzzled. I could feel the side conversation begin in my head, ‘Isn’t this a repeat conversation of last month, and how could he not remember...and why do I have to be the one to remember to put the recycles out?’ and so the train began to roll down the tracks, potentially leading to hazardous conditions!
In my mind I was starting to “make him wrong”.
I could feel my level of frustration and indignation rising. It was at that moment that I looked at him and said, “We don’t really have an agreed upon expectation that you will take the recycles out every month...I just assume you should do it...I’m not sure why I do? It’s not like I can’t do it?” Immediately the climate of the conversation changed...from a courtroom (plaintiff/defendant) to a two-way dialogue. “I mean, what’s the big deal? I can walk, I’ve climbed mountains, played college b-ball and run triathlons...but I’m about ready to have a cow over you not remembering the once-a-month recycle pick up?” I could see Vic’s body language completely relax. We both just started laughing and just looked at each other with smiles. “I’m happy to take the recycles out for you dear.” He kissed me and then headed out the door.
Later in the evening we ‘recapped’ the morning. I shared with Vic how it’s so much easier to ‘look out’ than ‘in’. Taking an interior look into my heart and attitudes means I need to pause...ask myself the hard questions of ‘why’ I might be responding as I am...‘what’ is going on inside of me? It’s soooooo humbling it’s crazy. Blaming him that morning would have been so much easier than taking an interior look...and I could have thought I was so right...but there would have been no benefit to our relationship.
Some of you reading may find this example small or insignificant, but I believe it is moments like these that can make or break the health of our marriages. If you read the top of our monthly letter...you see in bold, “Marriage Mosaic”, followed by, ‘Designing a pattern that brings life’. That morning, our marriage experienced ‘life’. It has been our passion to experience ‘Life’ in our own marriage and pour into the lives of others. God has used a mosaic of people, scriptures and material to help us design life-giving patterns in our own marriage...so much so that we can’t contain ourselves from investing in others. I received this text just days ago from a couple who has become dear to us...a couple who risked being known, who risked being vulnerable and who invited us into their lives:
“We think about you guys often and thank you for being there for us year after year. We thank God every day that you helped us learn to communicate. Our marriage is stronger than ever.”
This couple has grown so much and is learning how to design a pattern or mosaic that brings life. When I read her text that day I couldn’t help but smile and think ‘if going into ministry was to help that one couple it would be worth it’. The deep joy I feel knowing they are now experiencing hope is immense!
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Vic and Monique
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