have any of these crept their way into your relationships?
1. teasing…the hurtful kind – i know i hang around a lot of people who are deeply skilled in the art of sarcasm and quick wit. we even have a joke around north point that if you don’t have thick skin, you might not make it around here. (i can’t say i’m proud of that reputation. there is definitely a need for another blog post on this topic!). anyway, when it comes to our marriages, teasing can be deadly. i happen to be one of those people who believe that, no matter what, there is always some truth behind our teasing. and our spouses know it! teasing runs the risk of quietly leaving painful scars and permanently undermining confidence.
2. dishonesty – there is really nothing more damaging in our relationships than broken trust. when we strip marriage down to its essence, the only thing we really offer to our spouse is our word…our promise that we can be believed and our pledges of commitment are solid. when we lie…no matter how big or small…we chip away at the foundation that everything is built on. lying weakens our bond. dishonesty rips the fabric in ways that are virtually impossible to fix. there is power and assurance in truth.
3. being annoying – in premarriage counseling, i usually ask couples to make a list of 15-20 things that “bug” them about each other. things that irritate, frustrate, upset or aggravate. they hate doing this! “we love each other.” “love is blind.” baloney. we’re human and we do things that can be incredibly selfish. we might even think some of them are funny and our spouses should be amused by what we do. think twice. according to the apostle paul, love is never rude or self-seeking. never.
4. while we’re talking about it…selfishness – i suppose this one should go without being said, but when it comes to living unselfishly, we are miserable failures. all of us. self-centeredness is our middle name. i can honestly tell you that every marriage…and i mean every marriage…that i have seen implode and end in divorce or bland emptiness has ended up that way because of the selfishness of one or both partners. consider this your warning.
5. greediness – greed is the excessive desire to possess more than we need or deserve…especially regarding wealth. one of these days, we’ll spend some time on marriage tuesday with a discussion of the love of money and the unique stress it brings to a marriage…but for now, i’ll just say that this uncontrolled need for more is a one-way street headed to the edge of a cliff. and you better get it under control.
five more next week.