Earlier this month, Jordan and I attended a marriage conference called "What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage" by Paul Tripp. In our nearly 4 years of marriage, this was the first time we'd ever done anything like this, and let's just say it wasn't Jordan's idea of a favorite way to spend a Friday night and Saturday morning.
Lucky for me, I've learned surefire way to combat any resistance from my dear husband when it comes to taking me places he doesn't want to go:
1) Ask him to tell you the last time you made him to something like this. He'll sigh and be forced to admit it's not often.
2) Make a dramatic statement like, "But don't you LOVE me? Don't you WANT our marriage to be the best it can be?" He'll sigh and feel guilty. The plan is working.
If all else fails, end with:
3) "That's fine. I'll just go by myself." He obviously can't say no to this. No idiot would send his wife to a marriage conference by herself unless they were really having trouble.
And my work here is done.
BUT ANYWAY. The point of this post is not to share my strategies of spousal manipulation, brilliant though they are. The point, my dear reader people, is to share some of the wisdom we learned from our conference. Keep in mind I'm summing up close to 5 hours of conference time into one semi-lengthy blog post, so this might not all be fleshed out completely. If you have questions or need further clarification, please ask!
A marriage is rooted in little moments, and the little moments matter.
When it comes to marriage--and life--there are only a few big moments. But most of the time we live in the mundane, the little moments. So when you snap at your spouse or have a fight and think, "It's not that big of a deal; it was just one little moment," that can become a dangerous mind-set. Because we live in the little moments, and those moments are all important.
All marriage problems are heart problems.
The words we say to others are more caused by what is inside of us than an external circumstance. He gave the example of sitting in a traffic jam. We get angry with the traffic and say that we are upset because of the traffic jam. But someone else can be in a car right next to us and not be mad at all, even though they are in the same traffic. So then it's not the external circumstance (in this case the traffic) that is making us upset. We are already upset inside, and the traffic jam is only the occasion where our anger is shown.
When Jordan and I are having a conversation, whatever is going on inside of me is shaping my response to him. I might already be feeling sad or annoyed about something else and have that inside me, and I respond to him based on those feelings. My words always tell me more about myself than they do about Jordan. It can be helpful to examine why you reacted in a certain way, because there's usually something more going on beneath the surface than this one interaction.
Sin causes us to be self-absorbed and to assert ourselves in the center of our universe.
I am a Christian, and so I believe that I am not the center of my universe. Jesus is the center. But I am a sinner, and sin in its most fundamental form is selfish. Therefore I push Jesus out and put myself at the center. It becomes all about me and how other people can please me. This harms relationships, and marriages specifically, because our spouse stops being an object of our affections and is reduced to being an obstacle to our happiness.
If I was honest with myself and made a list of all the silly reasons I get mad at Jordan, I would find that I get mad at him mostly because he is getting in the way of my selfish desire to do things my way. I want to be right and have him do things the way I like them, and when he gets in the way, I get angry.
A good marriage is one in which people learn to say no to their self and to make valuable what God says is valuable.
1) "Serve one another in love. Love your neighbor as yourself." (Galatians 5:14)
2) The fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). "Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."
Be loving, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. Love others as you would want to be loved. These are the things God says is valuable. Now who wouldn't want to be married to a person like that?
Obviously that was just a quick summary of what we went over at the conference. While we were there, I picked up the book that this conference is based on, written by the same man who came to speak to us. I'll be giving away 1 copy. Enter using the Rafflecopter below! International entries welcome. If you are really interested in this book and you win, I will send it to you even if you live in another country.
*I bought this book myself. All opinions about Paul Tripp and this marriage conference are my own. I am not being compensated in any way for this post.
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