Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Good News, Bad News: Light Bulb Moment

(We're gearing up for The PURSE-onality Challenge holiday edition"A Holiday-Ready Heart"–in October! Stay tuned for full details...Warm-Up Week starts September 24!)

September 5-23, I'll be blogging through Mary DeMuth's soon-to-be-released book Everything: What you Give and What you Gain to Become Like Jesus. Each week, I'll be giving way a copy of the book. You can enter the drawing via the Rafflecopter at the end of each Everything blog post!

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"We want to believe the lie that the Christian life is all about our comfort and happiness; surely it's never about suffering or working hard or bearing up or being resilient. It can't be about God's disciplining us or growing us. We would rather grow in a flowered garden, not be exiled to the tumbleweed desert. Yet we can't escape the fact that God disciplines those He loves. He sometimes sends us to hard pressing places."

Mary DeMuth, Everything -- download 2 free chapters here!

24 years ago today, these two crazy kids said "I do"...without a clue. I was so sure that my marriage was going to be one big "happily ever after." It's taken me decades to recognize that my marriage is actually one of the "hard pressing places" where God disciplines and grows me.

Good News

I heard the "good news" about my marriage at the taping of the Wired That Way Personality video series with Florence and Marita Littauer.

Marita pointed out that while every marriage can work, some marriages require more work than others.

The "less work marriages" have one square in common. A Sanguine/Choleric married to a Choleric/Melancholy: they share the Choleric need to achieve.

My marriage didn't fit the "less work marriage" description.

In the "more work marriages," both spouses are somewhat extroverted and somewhat introverted. A Sanguine (extrovert)/Phlegmatic (introvert) married to a Choleric (extrovert)/Melancholy (introvert). In this marriage, each spouse understands the other's needs for some socializing and for some solitude.

My marriage wasn't a "more work marriage".

In "most work marriages," the spouses are total opposites. A Melancholy/Phlegmatic (Daniel) married to a Sanguine/Choleric (me.) Whatever one spouse needs to have in order to thrive the other spouse needs to avoid in order to survive.

My marriage is definitely a "most work marriage".

At first, I was ecstatic to hear this. No wonder it's seemed so difficult, over the years. No wonder it's felt like so much work. We have the hardest type of marriage! That explains everything!

Bad News

By the next morning, however, reality sank in. Wait. Woah. Oh no. We have the hardest type of marriage! What meets my needs violates Daniel's needs; what meets Daniel's needs violates my needs. What kind of no-win martyrdom are we trapped in? Talking about bad news!

I do know how to meet Daniel's need for, say, solitude. But while he's enjoying his solitude I certainly can't meet my need for us to socialize! And Daniel knows about my need to achieve. But when I drag him on a 6-hour shopping spree, he doesn't get the downtime that he needs. Talking about incompatible!

But Daniel and I have always known that God brought us together. That He had a plan in mind for each of us, as two individuals, and for the "one" we were to become.

Why -- why on earth?!? -- did You put two such totally opposite people together in a marriage that only allows one spouse's needs to be fulfilled at a time? What is Your plan, here?

Light Bulb Moment!

I prayed for days. As I pondered, the light bulb went on.

I had spent years dwelling on how unfulfilled I feel when my husband's needs are met but mine are not.  What if I could learn to feel satisfaction when I see my husband's needs being met? What if I could learn to experience something new -- perhaps not the fun or achievement my Personality craves, but maybe something that transcends my needs?

I tried it: enjoying seeing Daniel's needs being met instead of focusing on mine going unmet. And sure enough! The reward for unselfishness is peace. A peace that passes all understanding.

Practicing unselfishness has led me to understand God's plan for my marriage. Because the only way I am able to think and act outside of my self is to surrender every aspect of my life (especially my marriage!) to Jesus Christ. To give up all my wants, my shoulds, and -- yes! -- even my needs. To trust Him to take complete care of me.

A "most work marriage" is the only one in which God could teach me to rely on Him alone. If I'd married someone with whom I had more in common, I would have found my fulfillment in my husband. I would have set him up -- a mere man -- to be my all-in-all. My savior. And that is never God's plan for any marriage.

Daniel and I are in a marriage of total opposites on purpose. And as we live according to His purpose, two selfish people are truly becoming one.

Now that is good news!

Your Turn:
  • Think about the easiest relationships in your life. What makes them easy?
  • Think about the harder relationships in your life. What makes them hard?
  • Anything else on your heart!

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1 comment:

  1. This is an amazing, eye opening post. Thank you so much!