I enjoy jogging, but I especially enjoy jogging with other people, my family members. It helps the miles go faster and easier if I have someone to talk to. But I DON’T like going for a run with someone who’s going to complain.
Every once in awhile, my running partner has gotten up on the wrong side of the bed, can’t find their running clothes, can’t find their shoes, don’t know where their socks are, have trouble finding a water bottle, and insist that it’s too cold. When we finally hit the road, they commence complaining. Too cold – too hot – too windy – too fast – too slow – feet hurt – legs tired – sidestitch – you name it! Even a two mile run can seem like forever when there is a complainer by my side! And by the time I’m done, I wish I had never gone.
Just as it discourages me to listen to a complainer about running, it can be very discouraging to listen to some of the negative voices that exist. When it comes to marriage, we need to be very careful who we listen to. If garbage comes into our minds, we will have a trashy marriage. Who wants that?
Here are some things to be wary of:
1. Well-meaning, but misguided relatives. You know the ones I mean. Those that take you aside privately and ask you if your husband is really doing everything he can, or if he’s being too commanding or … the list can go on and on. These folks may be genuinely concerned, but remember, they only have part of the story – the side they see. If you show anything but complete solidarity with your husband, they will come back again and again.
2. Friends who are having troubles with their own marriages. These friends want someone to talk to that they can share the complaints they have against their spouse freely. Statistics show that those who have a relative or close friend who is going through a divorce have a higher possibility for divorce themselves.
But what if they really want help? One way you can tell is by giving them a few suggestions. Tell them of a book to read, a website to visit, or a pastor to talk to. Then, when they come back to you with the same list of complaints, simply ask them, “Did you read that ____,” or, “Did you talk to the pastor about this?” If they respond that they didn’t, it’s a strong possibility that they’re just using you for a sounding board. Talking to you isn’t going to help them, either. It’s best for you just to remove yourself from the conversation.
3. TV shows, videos, etc. which portray the man as the weak, selfish, thoughtless, stupid one and the woman as smart, powerful and caring. Those shows will fill your head with a wrong perspective on true biblical marriage.
4. Friends who ride an emotional roller coaster. Some people have dramatic highs and lows. When they’re up, they’re really, really up, and when they’re down, you’d think the whole world was collapsing around them. We’d like to think that we can help to even them out, but more likely is that we would end up riding their roller coaster with them.
5. Allow news media very sparingly. I have a dear relative who lives by the news. Not surprisingly, she’ always up or down depending on what’s going on. Yes, sad things happen every day, but, as my husband always says, “If there’s nothing you can do about it, it will only waste your energy.” Personally, I have enough ups and downs of my own making to add to it all the troubles of the world!
I can hear it now, “Oh, no! Lisa, you’ve just eliminated all my friends and everything I do!” Well, I doubt that’s really the case, but even if it was, isn’t your marriage worth it? Did you commit “till death do us part?” “Forsaking all others?” Others is not just other men. That’s only a part of it. It’s other people, other philosophies, and other garbage.
The other day, I got to run with my daughter, who is often quite enthusiastic about running. It was great to see the miles go by as we looked at the beautiful scenery and talked. And when we were done, we felt as though we had conquered the world!
Maybe we did.
That’s the way it is when you have an encourager by your side.
How did you do on your last assignment? I know I had trouble digging it up, and I’m still working on it. Here’s your new assignment:
What is Your Song? You know the one I mean, the one you and your man adopted as the one that was written and sung just for you? Yes, that one! Find it somewhere and play it a few times, remembering back to some great times in your relationship.