Which are you doing with your marital “account”?
Today’s blog is real simple. Think of marriage as a bank account. Every time you put in a deposit, that’s a good thing and your bank balance grows. Every time you take money out, that’s a withdrawal and your balance diminishes. Think of having a marital “bank” account. Every single thing we say and do – whenever relationships are involved - - is either a deposit or a withdrawal in the strength of our marriage. It’s either adding to the strength of the marriage – or weakening it. So I ask today: what does your marital account look like recently: a lot of big deposits – or withdrawals? Read the rest of this to get some practical examples. And check out our two most recent sermons on marriage, and man and woman, given in July and August 2012.
I’ve done more than my share of “withdrawals” from my marital “bank account”. So I’m an expert on “withdrawals”, but not a kind of expertise I’m proud of. I’ve also been focusing on making more regular “deposits” as well. Don’t forget: it’s so often in our moments of abject failure that we come to see we need to turn around, repent, and go the other way. It is when we hit bottom when we are most likely to look up and cry out for deliverance and redemption from Father and our Redeemer. So if your marital account is a bit poor right now, I’ve been there. But let me also remind you: how hard we fall doesn’t matter as much as how high we bounce back. Withdrawals from a marital “bank account” can be awful and discouraging, but we can come back from virtual marital bankruptcy. So take heart. I’ve been married 37 years now and we’ve just had a fabulous 5 day anniversary trip. My wife, my best friend, my lover and “soul mate” – still here after all these ups and downs, and a lot of it has to do with making more deposits than withdrawals.
What are a few examples of marital “withdrawals”? (The List could easily be endless.)
• Walking away after a spat instead of letting the other one speak and hearing him/her out.
• Finding fault. Trying to change your spouse. Not accepting her or him the way they are. Let God be the One who changes what needs to be changed. HE is the Creator of the new life.
• Forgetting key anniversaries or other important dates
• Complaining about something the other is doing or not doing to your satisfaction. Complaining is always a “withdrawal” from your account.
• Saying anything you regret later. Humiliating your wife or husband in public – or private.
• Focusing on other things when your spouse wants your attention.
• HUGE withdrawals would be the big fight, throwing things, slamming doors, calling your spouse unspeakable names and words.
• “Headed to bankruptcy” (divorce): would include acts of infidelity or adultery. But even here, remember many climb back from “bankruptcy” when there is repentance, hope and forgiveness.
In the money world, a company can still recover from bankruptcy but it’s tough. Same thing in marriage. You can be on the verge of a relational bankruptcy and with a lot of prayer, forgiveness and change, we can slowly rebuild the marriage with God’s grace. But when a lot of damage has been done, there will be scars and sore points for a long time to come. But it can be done!
A few examples of “deposits” you can make to your marital account: (List could be endless!)
• Praising and expressing appreciation for the other (what kind of husband he is, her cooking, what kind of dad or mom the other is, etc.)
• Accepting the other. Really accepting. Some do this better than others and what a gift it is to be an accepting person. In fact you get a “kick” out of his/her little idiosyncrasies.
• Overlooking and “covering for” the other’s faults. In fact, you love him or her for what she is – faults, wrinkles, appearance, everything. You see an inner beauty more and more, rather than the outward. As we each age, this is a good thing!
• Remembering anniversaries and special dates. (Mark them in your Outlook calendar so you don’t forget!). Do something very special on these very special days.
• Walking hand in hand. Sitting on the couch together. Reading together.
• Touching. Just hug her for no reason at all except you love her. Hug, touch, and affirm a LOT.
• Having eyes just for her (or him) – and your spouse knows it!
• Your eyes light up when she (or he) walks into the room.
• Focus on the positives. The older we get, and the better our marriage gets, it seems more and more that all we see are the positives. But which came first?
• Listening intently when the other speaks. You don’t interrupt. This is actually just basic courtesy.
• Seriously considering the other’s viewpoint.
• Calling her from work just to say “I love you. I miss you.”
• Putting little love notes in his suitcase when he leaves on a business trip.
• Showing honor and respect for your partner every way you can.
• Serving your Beloved every chance you can. Offering to do a chore she thought she had to do – just because you love her. Giving her a day off, a night off to be with friends, and when she comes home, the kitchen is cleaned up, the clothes are put away and the house is spotless. Wives, you can do things for him too.
• Praying for your spouse. Praying with your spouse. Expressing gratitude for your spouse.
• Blessing your spouse. Believing the best of your spouse.
You get the idea! Just ask yourself: what’s my “marital bank account” looking like lately? Just remember to pause and think: “is what I’m about to say or do going to add to my marriage (deposit), or is it going to take away from my marriage (Withdrawal)?”
Deposits are better. What ideas do you have? Feel free to comment on the blog directly. Also feel free to send this to others you think may appreciate it.