As I was growing up I was taught that we don’t need to be wasteful. We need to wear our pants more than once in order to save water when we wash clothes. We used towels for days, again to save water when we washed our clothes. We saved bread bags and used those to store uneaten biscuits. We had baggies, but they were for special occasions. We saved plastic butter containers and used them instead of Tupperware. And the list could go on. These belief systems took root in my mind and became part of who I became as an adult.
Now, fast forward thirty to forty years later and this belief system gets married to an incredible man who has his own set of beliefs about the way to live everyday life…
My husband wore pants once and sometimes even several pair in one day. He grew up using paper towels instead of a dish towel to wipe down the kitchen cabinets. He used paper towels to cover food that was left out on the stove instead of putting it away immediately. (See where I am going with this?) Continue on with this vain of thinking and you will find a clash in my mind that was as big as the “Clash of the Titans.”
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind, let each of you consider others as more important than yourself. Philippians 2:3
Marriage can be a beautiful piece of artwork created by the concept of give and take. It is filled with compromise and each marriage needs to be able to navigate the waters of their own unique relationship; especially as the two start to become one. These are truths regardless of when you get married, but I think sometimes when you wait to marry, as my husband and I did, people are more apt to be “set in their ways” making it challenging to yield to one another – especially when one mate (aka ME) is independent (a nicer word than stubborn) and set in her ways.
Whenever we would go to the store I would mentally plan the route we needed to take. If my husband didn’t take that route, I would have a silent freak out moment or two and then “sweetly” ask, “Why are you going THIS way?” It never ended well for me. Thankfully, my husband is the calmest man I know. Not much rattles him and he was able to compromise like no one’s business. He just went with the flow and endured whatever critique I offered. While I hope I was never ugly and yelled, I know inwardly I was a hot mess.
Now, as I shared earlier, we married later in life; I was forty and he was forty-two. This gave us time to get used to doing things our own ways, but it also gave God more time to work in us and develop an ability to hear His voice and respond to His promptings.
One afternoon we were working together in the kitchen and I could feel the muscles tightening in my shoulders (the first place I carry tension) as more paper towels were being used than I thought was necessary. I was beginning to freak out when I remember this thought hitting me like a ton of bricks, “He doesn’t have to do it your way in order to be right.” It was as real to me as if someone was standing beside me in the kitchen and said it out loud.
I got it! I mean, I really got it! And, boy did I hold on to it. From that point on, every time I was tempted to get uptight about the roads we took or the things we did, that did not match the way I thought we should do it, I would just release it and say to myself, “He doesn’t have to do it my way in order to be right.” You can not believe the amount of stress and pressure that took off my shoulders. And it certainly created a more peaceful atmosphere in my home.
Today, I want you to take the time to BeLoved Completely. As you do, ask your Daddy God if there are any places in your heart where you believe that your spouse (or roommate, or child, or colleague, etc.) needs to do things YOUR way. If so, then I encourage you to release it and let it go. He/She doesn’t have to do it your way in order to be right. Actually, you don’t even need to think about it in terms or right or wrong. It can just be a different way. I hope this helps take some pressure off your shoulders and as you walk in this, may it help you live a life of peace.