Growing up, when my parents would ask me a question like, “Why did you put that there?” I’d hear an attack. I also learned as a little child that when the chocolate got put out, I should shove as much as I could into my mouth or else I’d miss out. These lessons seem funny to me now, but I carried them with me into my marriage.
When I married Louise, I resolved that it would be for life, and even more, that it would be better day by day. It didn’t take me long to realize that the lessons I had learned as a child weren’t serving me well in marriage. If Louise asked me a basic question, my self-preservation instincts flared up and I would be very defensive. Later, we would talk it through and I would realize that she had just asked a perfectly normal question. Over time, I came to really know that Louise is totally for me. That’s not something she just says—she means it. As I began to discover the truth that I was safe with Louise, I stopped using “self-preservation” and started to be intentional about hearing her questions as questions rather than attacks. This has been really significant for our relationship and taken us to new levels of health in our marriage (and to be honest, with other relationships as well). I am free to concentrate on being the best husband I can be and meet all of her life needs that I can. It is a thrill to look to heaven to see how we can strengthen our marriage. In just a few months we will have been married 12 years, and I can honestly say that I loved Louise with all my heart on the day I said “I do”, and that I love her more today than ever before. And this isn’t the end. God says there is even more to come.
– Shane, 33, Australia