The routine upon opening my eyes in the morning is reaching for my iPhone and open my YouVersion Bible application. These days I'm searching for peaceful ground as I walk through this maze of life that is constantly filled with uncertainty and change...
Normally before the morning ends my mother calls and we talk about whatever we talk about...more grounding is found in these conversations about nothing that always seem to lead to something I can walk away with and hang my hat on when fear and doubt decide they want to hang out with me.
Last week her call came through in the midst of me reading Romans as a part of YouVersions "Soul Detox" plan. I wasn't aware that our conversation would lead to her dropping a few gems on me.
Our convo started with our normal morning greeting and small talk about what she has planned for the day in the city of Cleveland. She answered and said she was thinking about one of my friends...I told her this friend was going through some tough times as they were in the midst of getting a divorce. She was saddened by the news and went on to say there are so many marriages ending in divorce and it's something she doesn't understand. I know she is truly bothered by it because this isn't the first friend I've had who has divorced their spouse and every time she hears anyone speak on divorce she's saddened.
I went on to express that although I'm not married...clearly it's hard out here. She slightly disagreed which led to me ask "Why is your marriage still in great standing after 36 years?"
Her response: "Me and your father don't have a perfect marriage but we have a really good marriage because we constantly try to out give each other."
This concept of out-giving each other had my brain buzzing a bit...Do tell more mother...
Then she spoke freely from her heart:
"The problem with marriage is people live in a fantasy world. 50 percent of the time you won't get your way and 50 percent of the time you will. It's important that you know your lane and your job in the partnership. My job is to make my husband happy BUT I can't make him happy unless he's a whole person spiritually and mentally. If he is whole...my job is to find out what makes him happy. The key to a happy marriage is knowing who I'm dealing with and allowing him to be that. My job is to allowing him to like his hobbies....In allowing him to do this I allow him to enjoy his life!
My job is to say yes 90% of the time. I say yes to almost everything my husband wants to do and vice versa. 10% of the time I'll say no and because I say no seldomly, he's willing to hear my reason why. Because I've said yes 90% of the time it's his job to say yes 90% of the time as well and it makes it easier for both of us to say yes! Saying "no" to each other leads to us stop asking all together and doing things by ourselves...
Also, I rarely fuss at him so when I do he's willing to listen to me because he knows I don't argue over petty things. If I did why would he want to listen to me?When I speak he's willing to listen because he knows there is some form of wisdom in what I have to say.
My job is to let him lead...which can be difficult but easier when seeing he's spiritually and mentally grounded. My job is also to tell him what makes me happy...He doesn't have time to guess what makes me happy...I have to voice it.
Another thing is we're together on everything! We decide together what is best for the betterment of the family, what's best for us, and we don't make decisions on what is best for me or him. Team unity is so important that you have to find someone who understands team unity...The team is wife & husband....children are players that come and go....the spouse permanent! Your spouse should always come before the children!
I feel like I'm talking to much..."
I tell her she isn't...she's actually unlocking love...
The art of coexisting with another human being for a lifetime seems very challenging...
Then she proceeds with the following:
I think everyone should ask themselves the simple question of "Do you want a good relationship that could lead to marriage?" If the answer is yes you have to be willing to follow the rules because there are rules that most couples seem to ignore.
Here are the rules that you must consider:
1. Know their heart and personality because that doesn't change.
2. Understand that you're on a team. Teams have one common goal. Do you know what the goal is?
3. Spend time together laughing and not arguing! Every argument tears down relationships...laughter and encouragement builds up relationships...your job is to be encouraging! Encouragement has no negativity in it.
4. Protect your mate! Never say anything negative about your mate to others. If something isn't going well discuss it with your spouse in private but don't gossip to others. Whatever is wrong must be discussed with your mate to remedy the problem. Your issues aren't for roundtable discussions amongst your friends.
**There will always be somebody who has something to say or something they've seen your spouse doing...don't react...Once the two of you are in private ask your spouse questions but don't accuse. You might ask is it true that such and such happened instead of Sarah told me you did such and such! Questions give someone an opportunity to explain a situation**
5. Fight fairly. Stay on topic, don't name call, and work towards a solution that will make both parties happy.
6. Say "I'm sorry and it won't happen again" when you're wrong...and try your best to make sure it doesn't happen again!
7. Work towards keeping the peace!
8. Take care of your spouse...Are you willing to make sure that they are comfortable and feel safe? Men and women have to feel safe...Can I be myself and be safe here?
9. Allow your spouse to make mistakes...they won't be perfect...but don't rub it in their face.
10. Leave negativity and negative people alone!
11. Forgiveness goes hand and hand with marriage. This is why you don't share inside information on your relationships with others. Others don't forgive like you will because they're not in the relationship...keep them out of your love life.
I believe marriage is the greatest thing that can happen to a man or woman. It's the most lasting comforting place you can be when it's done the right way....unselfishly. It's suppose to be the only God sanctioned relationship and if you can forgive and move on you'll be fine. Everything won't go your way and some of the things you don't need to go your way. Marriage is permanent support and we all need support. Marriage isn't this magical place where two people walk through the park hand and hand for 50 years. It has it's up and down, good and bad moments, exciting and boring parts....but if you're committed you'll learn the rules and commit yourselves to each other.
Marriage can be like business...most businesses won't flourish overnight and everything doesn't run as smoothly as planned during the first few years but when you stay committed...you learn from the mistakes and sooner or later the business grows. Sooner or later you'll look up and recognize that through BOTH of you working together you've created a great relationship. You have to ask is your mate worth the work?
The key is continuously giving your best to the person that deserves your best. Remember you chose to be with this person as they chose to be with you! Why wouldn't you give them your best?
And with that being said she was done speaking and told me she had to run so she could go pick up some new thread and needles before heading to her quilt club at Noon. We said our goodbye's and Romans reappeared on my screen...
I sat there in my bed digesting everything said...
Love was unlocked courtesy of my mother...
Aaron "Ab" Abernathy