While I was couch surfing today, working on logo designs and a home management binder project I was watching A walk in the clouds. One particular scene in the movie the Grandfather is talking to Keanu Reeves’ character Paul and he says something rather profound. He tells him what do newlyweds do but make love, and war. He also talks about the fact that all things get better with age. That is without a doubt some really, really good advice. The things that turn out to be the most successful often just take time. In the movie he is talking about Brandy that he had bottled twenty one years prior, but he is comparing age, marriage, and time to indicate to Keanu that no matter what is going on at the moment putting in the time and effort can result in some pretty awesome results. Often in marriage, at the first sign of trouble we begin to spiral into the lies that society, our minds, our pasts, or even the devil would have us believe about our current circumstances. Often if we reflect on some of our most embarrassing arguments it’s easy now on this side of them to see either where we were wrong, overreacted, or had we just given more benefit of the doubt could have been avoided all together. I once had a pastor tell me, “Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see.” He had quite a bit of age on him, wisdom comes from years of pouring into truth and not just running off immediately at the first sign of trouble often making the situation worse, or jumping to conclusions. I’ve been reading a book this past month called, Keep showing up. In the book she talks about how problems in relationships are often related to three issues, baggage, expectations, and perceptions
Often the emotional baggage we carry into our relationships, either from our experiences growing up with regard to our childhood, or past intimate relationships can affect greatly how we look at our current situation with our spouse. It is imperative that we are honest with ourselves about that emotional baggage so it doesn’t begin to harm our spouse. Emotional baggage comes in the form of how we behave when our spouse treats us a certain way, or responds a certain way, that may send off flares that send us right back to the previous treatments from our childhood or a previous relationship that may have ended poorly.
Expectations, a tricky thing that can get us easily in to trouble. These things can come from movies, past relationships, what we’ve witnessed of other relationships around us and so much more. Often when I feel my heart most yearning for my husband to step up and into a different way of performing I have to reign in on what my mind is focusing on. Have I been watching too much Hallmark, or reading too much Nicholas Sparks? When I find my heart constantly searching for more, or different it can be because unrealistic expectations have leaked into my heart. Communication is key when it comes to expectations, one of the pieces of advice that I often pass along to others struggling with expectations for their significant other is, “have you communicated these expectations to them?” A friend of mine was upset about her significant other having seemingly brushed off Valentine’s Day, he had not called her, setup any type of date, or otherwise shared with her any feelings we would typically expect when in a relationship. She on the other hand values Valentine’s day very much, but she had failed to communicate this expectation to her fella which resulted in some pretty bitter feelings. When we are in a relationship we have to realize that our counterpart has very different expectations and feelings just like we do. Our big event may be Valentine’s day, whereas their big event maybe the Super Bowl. IF we don’t communicate these things to one another but then hold them accountable for not performing we have done them no great service and also wounded our relationship.
I once read a quote from Dr. Phil, I’m not entirely sure if he was the author but it is solid advice non the less, Perception is reality, it’s actually one of his “ten laws” which states “there is no reality, only perception. People will believe their perception of things regardless of where the truth may lie. We have to battle our perceptions in order to gain footing in our relationships. If we perceive that our spouses are our enemies instead of focusing on the true enemy of marriage (satan) we will be more apt to attack than attach. Attacking our spouse verses attaching to their heart. We must attach ourselves to their hearts, when we serve them, and love them well we will in turn actually come to be given what we wanted after all. Now you shouldn’t serve out of selfish intentions, but you should focus your energy on loving your spouse in their language with the knowledge that when they feel loved and are thriving that will come back to you also.
Go forward this week with eyes anew.
Love your spouse and battle your emotional baggage, expectations, and your perceptions.