It Can Be Done And It Is Worth It
I’ve only read the first 13 pages of Love and War, and I’ll be honest, I found them somewhat depressing. Then again, when I think about the reality of so many relationships, it IS somewhat depressing. So many couples are struggling to stay together because we feel disillusioned by the expectations we had going in to marriage. Life together is not what we envisioned. It’s much harder and thus we think it might be better to go back to the days when we lived life separately.
The thing about living life separately, however, is that while we can run away from our spouses, we can’t get away from ourselves. And often, we (yes, you and me) are the problem. Maybe not all of the problem, but at least some of it.
In Chapter One of Love and War, John Eldredge talks about how shocked he was when his wife Stasi talked about the possibility of getting divorced only two years into their marriage. He admits that while he’s able to more honestly assess his flaws now, at the time he was completely shocked by Stasi’s suggestion and had a difficult time coming up with ways that he negatively contributed to the relationship.
Personally, I can’t help but wonder how many of us have blinders on when it comes to our own role in our marriages and relationships. I don’t know about you, but I’m quick to assign blame to my husband for a particular problem but somewhat unable (unwilling?) to see the ways that I am in the wrong.
So, as we finish Chapter One of Love and War, I want to first encourage all of you, no matter where you’re at in your relationship. As John and Stasi pointed out in the Introduction, marriage is the most difficult thing you will ever do in your life. But it can be done. And it is worth it.
Next, I want to give each of us a little assignment: Take out a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. At the top of one column, write “Got it down” and at the top of the other column write “Room for improvement.” In the “Got it down” column, list the things that you feel you do well in your relationship–the positive attributes that you possess and the character qualities that you think make you a good partner. In the “Room for improvement” column write down the things that you think you could improve upon as a wife (or husband)–character qualities you’d like to further cultivate, habits that you’d like to form or break, etc.
Remember: These aren’t things you like or dislike about your SPOUSE. These lists are all about you.
We’ll circle back next week around this time to discuss the rest of Chapter 1 and Chapters 2 & 3.
In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts about what you’re reading in the comments section below.