Recently, someone in church said something that completely resonated with me in so many ways, and I instantly started writing a bunch of thoughts on it that I had. I want to share those with you!
She talked about how we sometimes look at people as obstacles, and how doing so gives us such a negative attitude and perspective on our situations with them.
Hearing that really hit me and I think it’s because of the context it was in–relating obstacles to people, especially the people whom we have close relationships with. I want to relate this idea to marriage.
These are a few of the definitions of “obstacle” that I think will help us understand this idea better. I think that we go through periods in our marriages where we look at our spouse as an obstacle. We see them as something that is making our life more difficult; we see them as an obstruction in our way of happiness. We see them as a mountain to climb, like they are this thing we have to “overcome.” It’s just what can happen when you go through long bouts of fights or neglection together. Which is sad when you compare these feelings to when you were first married, seeing that person as the most amazing thing that could ever happen to you, seeing them as the thing that is going to be the biggest form of progression in your entire life! How did we let that feeling diminsh throughout the years? No matter how it happened, I believe we can shake this feeling.
1. Take a Step back
First of all, I think it requires us taking a step back and look at the situation with more rational thinking. More often than not, we blame our spouse for some of our circumstances, thinking they’re the cause for our unfavorable circumstances. For example, you may blame your spouse for why you haven’t gotten a college degree yet, or why you’re not financially stable, or why you don’t go out with your friends anymore. The truth is this: perspective and attitude is everything!
Let’s apply this to some scenarios: I mean, did your spouse intentionally go out of his way to make sure you can’t go back to school? NO, it’s that you both made the decision that if you could only afford one tuition, you wanted him to get done with school first.
2. Avoid Placing Blame.
Because sometimes it’s no one’s fault. In fact, I think most of the time no one is at fault. It’s just life happening to you, giving you circumstances you have to roll with, even when you’ve done your best to prepare for it.
When you choose to play the blame game, you’re holding a person responsible for what has happened. To me, that phrase, “holding a person responsible” has this feeling of unforgiveness and maybe even disgust. Those are two very negative feelings to be circling in your mind; circling in your marriage.
3. Look at your marriage as a team.
When you gain more of the TEAM attitude in all aspects of your marriage, there is less room to blame. It’s because you’re shouldering the responsibilities together, as well as reaping the rewards together. You’ve probably heard the oldsaying, “There’s no “I” in TEAM.” Well, there’s also no “U” in TEAM either. Don’t get yourself stuck on blaming telling your spouse, “You did this.” or “You don’t do that.” Accept or overcome your circumstances together.
4. Count Your Blessings.
Consider all the ways your spouse has blessed your life; how they have opened doors for you in life. How have they brought you opportunities you may not have had otherwise? I guarantee you that your spouse has blessed your life in MANY ways.
Connection is at stake
Another reason why this idea struck me so hard was because I have family and friends that I see struggling in some various relationships right now, and I get the feeling that they look at the person(s) on the other end of that relationship as an obstacle. I have absolutely had this same negative perspective about people in my life too. And it’s so unfortunate because it drives us away from connection. When we view people so negatively, like viewing them as obstacles, we usually stop connecting with them too. And we all know the dangers of not connecting with our spouse emotionally and physically…
So I encourage you to go through these steps above if you’re in this perspective right now where you see your spouse as an obstacle in some aspect of your life. If you’re not really struggling with this, I encourage you to still do step number 4, because this is such a good exercise to do for your marriage! And I believe it can help prevent you from catching yourself in this situation. It goes back to counting your blessings. Do that continually and your perspectives can change. :)