I think it’s fitting, this last day of “Gratitude Month”, I write something about the person I’m most grateful for, my wife. She puts up with a lot to have loved me this long (24 years together, 22 married)…
As I go, one of the toughest but, by far, the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given pertaining to marriage is to keep the focus on me when it comes to negative interactions with my wife. This goes back to the old Biblical concept of not worrying about the splinter in my neighbor’s eye, but the stick in mine.
When things aren’t going well in our marriage, from little things all the way up to huge issues, I try to keep the focus on me. It’s too easy to focus on my wife’s faults in issues. To be distracted by what I think she’s doing wrong… Even when my wife is at fault, rather than concentrate on her flaws, I try to look at how I can be a better me to bring her back.
This is not easy. F***, is it hard. But it works. Every time, without fail.
I don’t have to be a door mat to anyone, but do I want to be right, or happy. That’s not a question, and it’s very rare you get to be both.
A marriage counselor told me the easiest way I’ve ever heard to keep this in perspective, years ago…
He said, “Jim, if not for your wife’s flaws, she’d have picked a better man.”
My wife and I started the weekend, Friday afternoon, drifting apart, on two separate rafts. Every time I wanted to point the finger of blame for our drift, I remembered that saying and looked at what I could bring to the situation to improve things. By the time Saturday rolled around, we were on the same raft and laughing together. It was as simple as, rather than sitting on the couch, watching Michigan crush Indiana, I went to the apple orchard and shopping for dinner supplies with my wife. By the time we walked into the grocery store, we were on the same raft again.
I could have been right. Happy is much better.
Recover hard, my friends.