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Mom's Time Out

Love and Respect

Mary Angel

(11/2013) I am saddened this month as a mother and a wife. I am saddened by how disposable marriage has become in our society. I am saddened at how often I hear the phrase, "The next time I marry, I willÖ" You can fill in the rest any way you like. I am not talking about joking (My husband and I have certainly joked about marrying for money). I am talking about the mentality that has spread through the younger generations, and becomes more prevalent with each new generation. The mentality that says, "Sure I will give marriage a try, if it doesnít work out this time there is always next time." It is the "all about me" mentality.

I am certainly not referring to people in an abusive or dangerous situation with any of my comments. Also, there are always special circumstances and exceptions to every rule. My problem is the way people are treating their loved ones. If someone has a spouse who does not make them happy they feel they are entitled to leave, or end the marriage. My husband and I have been leading a small group study by Dr. Eggrich which is entitled Love and Respect. It is basic stuff, wives respect your husbands and husbands love your wives. I believe it is so basic that many couples disregard the importance of these two simple ideas. In the Bible men are called to love their wives the way Christ loves the church and women are called to respect their husbands. Is this the reality of the world we live in? I donít think these two things occur nearly enough. If the husbands of this world loved their wives unconditionally, put their wives before themselves in their thoughts and actions, and did this in front of their children, I believe we would notice a change that would sweep this country and this world we live in. Consequently, if wives would show their husbands respect in their words and deeds, without regard for their husbandís actions, there would be a noticeable drop in the divorce rate.

The other night I thought of a wonderful experiment. What if every wife and every husband recorded themselves for a week (alright I said wonderful, not realistic). At the end of the week they went back and saw how they spoke to, acted towards and overall treated their spouse. Then they thought about their children and asked a simple, very impactful, question. Would I want my son or daughter to be treated the way I treated their father/mother. Wow! There have been many moments when I have said or done things to my husband that werenít super terrible but very disrespectful. Although I wish I could say I never did anything derogatory in front of the kids, but I know that would be wrong. Every time that happens the kids see it, they absorb that experience. Later they might emulate that characteristic or accept it as the way they should be treated.

Before I answer my husband in anger I try to think of how much I loved him on the day we got married. Secondly, I think before I speak. What I mean is I try to avoid those attacking hurtful statements (that you donít necessarily mean, but are out to hurt the other person the way they have hurt you), the ones that canít be taken back. These statements include, but are not limited to, "I wish we had never gotten married", and any statement that used the "D" word (Divorce), and any derogatory statement about love or respect. These are the statements that can eat away at the foundation of a relationship.

Another tool that my husband and I enlist to keep our marriage going is the old fashioned date. Yes, I really mean old fashioned. The husband plans it, the wife gets dressed up for her husband, the kids are left at home, NO ONE else goes with you, and lastly you do not go to the movies. Some of you might be asking what I have against the movies, and I would tell you nothing. However, the movies are not a place to reconnect with your spouse and get recharged for your relationship. Maybe this is part of the problem; people today want that immediate gratification, the "I deserve to be happy all the time" mentality. I am here to tell you that a relationship, of any kind, is work.

Please do not misunderstand my relationship with my husband. We have made many mistakes in our relationship. We struggled a great deal at the beginning of the relationship, and then when we had our first child it was complete chaos. We also went through what we considered the seven year itch. Neither one of us had an affair or anything like that, but we down right didnít care for one another. The difference is, instead of letting it fester and deteriorate, we did something about it. There is always help out there. The question is whether or not you are willing to seek it out, and have follow through.

There are no quick fixes to a relationship in turmoil. It can also be said that there isnít one right solution for every relationship either. I know couples who have gone to counselor after counselor until one just worked for them. What if they had said, "We have tried that before" and not gotten to the one that fit their situation. My husband and I often discuss what might have happened if we hadnít done the Love Dare, or Love and Respect, or The Art of Love. With are blessed by thought of friends and family who have sought counseling and come out the other side better for it. Our low points have been made shorter in our eyes by the grace of God and all of these wonderful tools available to all of us. So for your sake, the sake of your husband, and the sake of your children try ONE more time and stick it out.

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