I truly believe that the quality of your relationships and the way you interact with others is a strong reflection of your marriage. Please brace yourselves, here is the reasoning behind my statement:
Selflessness.1 Corinthians 13:5 say’s love is not self-serving. My marriage requires me to be selfless every day. Most situations requires me to consult my husband before making a decision. Even when not required, I’m always thinking about how all my decisions affect him and our plans. Whenever, I interact with the people whom I truly value, I'm always thinking of ways in which I can serve them. Here is an example; recently one of my best friend(s) had a baby shower in my hometown. Now this was around the holidays and a whopping ten (10) hour drive. I had work that week and hubby wouldn't be off until the following week so I decided to make the trip alone. Why? The shower was Saturday which means I have to leave Friday at the latest (I am the host! The host CANNOT be late) the problem was I had a 2 hour long meeting with the client that same Friday.
Thankfully, I was working remotely that day so I secured my ear piece for my phone and surprisingly a 10 hour drive alone is the perfect time to sit in a 2 hour long meeting with no interruptions. I woke up early the next day (very exhausted from driving) went shopping for all game items, food etc.… I arrived at my best friend's home early enough to help her get dressed because by this time the belly/baby bump was carrying her (LOL) and I needed her to look absolutely beautiful on this joyous occasion (and she did). As I am doing her make-up my eyes swelled with tears, I stood beside her when she said her “I Dos” and now for this moment, I felt so honored to serve her because she was so deserving of this happiness.
I value the moments when I am the most selfless to the people I love; my marriage taught me that selflessness is an act of love.
Sympathy. According to Webster, sympathy is a person's ability to identify with the feelings of another by experiencing similar affects. Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Whenever a loved one approached me about something I may have done wrong to hurt them, I am now more sympathetic to their feelings even if I don’t fully understand it. I sympathize with their hurt and the fact that it’s their hurt to own. There are many times in my marriage where I did something that either offended or hurt my husband’s feelings unintentionally. When he approaches me with his feelings my response is usually “I’m sorry, that was not my intent and I did not mean to make you feel that way” instead of justifying my actions even if they were with great intentions; I am sympathetic to the fact that he is entitled to his hurt. I find myself displaying this same behavior in my friendships. I am now more apologetic whenever I become aware of the hurt I’ve caused when dealing with a love one. My marriage has now wired me that way.
Communication. It is so easy to pout, puff, and resort to isolation when someone rubs you the wrong way. This is still a weakness for me but I must say my marriage has helped me improve from a 30% - 70% when it comes to being direct with folks about my feelings towards them. I am forced to talk about my feelings with my husband (how many husbands do you know that will peacefully sleep next to an angry wife?) (LOL) I don’t think there are many. Every year we get better with communication and I am so grateful because our talks would literally be black and white, no gray areas. He could say “The sky is blue” and I may respond “yes, but there are so many white clouds you can hardly see the blue sky” and he would say “that’s not what I said” and then I would say, “I agree with you, the sky is blue but there are too many white clouds” and literally the only thing that would stand out is the fact that I didn’t say “The sky is blue” and left it at that. So, if I even think my friend looked at me the wrong way, I am most likely to approach the situation to clarify any misperceptions.
Respect. I always jokingly say to my friends, “I think God squeezed every bit of testosterone that he could into my husband” because GOOD LORD! I have never met another so big on respect. However, to his defense, it makes perfect sense, he is one of the most respectful and considerate persons I know and after meeting and getting to know my grandfather-in-love (who is in his 90s and in better shape than me by the way, lol) I understand that he was raised that way. My marriage has not only taught me what it looks like to be respectful to others but it has also taught me that you teach people how to treat you. I taught my husband how to treat me by the values I placed on myself, and he taught me how to treat him by the values he placed on himself. To this day he always jokingly say, "Man, baby you keep me on my toes! I don't get a day off" THATS RIGHT! You married a Queen, there are no days off. Whether on the job, in the church, amongst friends… The way we see it, we are ONE and if I wouldn’t sit back and allow someone to disrespect my husband to my face, then I shouldn’t allow disrespect towards me under any circumstance because I am a representation of him. Ephesians 5:28“In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies, for a man who loves his wife actually shows love to himself”. My friends are the most respectful, thank God! But I think the fact that I disregard anything less, plays a significant role in that outcome. I refuse to settle for less, I didn’t settle for my marriage, I didn’t settle for my career and so that should transpire into to all areas of my life.
My Marriage Forced Me to Grow Up!