The Slow Fade of Minimizing.
When we were first married, I believed that I was better at making decisions and that my decisiveness was somewhat better. Not that Johnny couldn’t make any decisions. Not that he was laid back or passive. By all means, he was and still is an apt decision maker. The only issue I had with his decisiveness was his “execution,” specifically “his speed.”
I assumed that he would skip when I skipped, and hopped when I hopped. So, when his tempo seemed slow and quite sluggish to me, I took it as a weakness and consequently, minimized his decisions.
I minimized his feelings, his creative expression and his thought process. Sure, my decisiveness could be a strength, but that didn’t justify my ‘self-righteousness or moral superiority’. Strengths become weaknesses when they make us smug.
There’s no better way to say this, but pulling together starts to become very painful as you jerk each other around in different directions, just because you are both holding onto hard stances.
On the flip side, if you are both not tightening up any loose ends, the cord loosens. No one puts in their best best forward, no one challenges the other. The marriage then, becomes wobbly, always on life support, always on crutches.
All of us have personality traits or preferences that are not sin, but can make us challenging to like. These are compounded when we have to live with someone who cannot escape our idiosyncrasies. In the process, we blame each other. We try to convince ourselves that they are the problem, make us irritated, hence our reaction of minimizing their feelings.
We proudly cling to high grounds, and in the process, we hemorrhage the joys that a marriage could bring.
Have you thought of the fact that you two are very different and cannot think alike? Have you thought of the legitimacy of each other’s feelings? Is your marriage a safe place to talk about the deepest aches without feeling judged or mishandled? Is there empathy that flows freely between you two?
Gospel-centered marriages are not perfect marriages. They are war-like marriages, constantly praying, constantly laboring in love, constantly striving to move away from, constantly purging out, constantly working out, constantly weeding out, this pesky little weed called minimizing. It might seem little but it’s lethal. It includes a total dependence on God while acknowledging weaknesses, confessing sin, and offering forgiveness to each other.
Do you minimize your wife’s feelings?
Do you minimize your husband’s thought process?
Do you feel superior than your spouse?
If any of those questions have a slight inclination towards a yes nod, or a maybe, then Calvary’s cross is not far off and so is your spouse’s heart. Reach out, ask for forgiveness and cleave onto what is right. Do not allow your marriage to fade out while it’s within your reach to do something that catalyses it’s growth.
Don’t just think that what you do together strengthens the marriage. Paul said this in Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. It matters too what you hold onto as an individual.
Consider your spouse better than yourself, that is hinge that a thriving marriage swings on. When two people operate out of that individual profundity, the marriage will endure — and not only endure, but flourish with joy and fruitfulness.