Today’s post is from our friends at refineus.org. They have a great book you should absolutely check out. You can find out more about that here.
A few days ago I was talking to a friend that just started dating a young lady. You could hear the excitement in his voice as he told me how they met; about the friends that had introduced them and his first impressions of her.
He told me where she was from, a little about her family and what he liked most about her. A few minutes into our conversation he started listing for me all of the things that they had “in common.”
I put quotes around “in common” because that was his term. “Justin, you won’t believe all the things we have in common. It’s crazy how much alike we are.” I was sucked into his euphoria. I wanted to hear more about this relationship because he was so pumped up about it.
“Our birthdays are in the same month.”
“She is from Illinois and I’ve been to Illinois.”
“She likes crab cakes and I’ve eaten them before.”
“Her eyes are brown and I have brown hair.”
I’m obviously embellishing a little bit on how he described all they had in common…but not by much. He wanted to see all of the positive things that could make this relationship work.
I walked away from that conversation happier. It had been a while since I had encountered such relational optimism. When you like someone you look for all the reasons why it could work. When you like someone you believe you have everything in common.
My guess is most marriage relationships start out here. I know ours did. When Trish and I met, we didn’t see any differences only what we had in common. The excitement and energy of our relationship was born out of what could be.
Many marriages drift to a place of ordinary not because of huge seismic shifts, but a little drifting over time. Part of that drifting is in the way we see our spouse.
Rather than focusing on all that we love about them; all that is amazing about them; all that we have in common we start focusing on all of our differences.
- She is a morning person and I’m a night owl.
- He is always late and I am always on time.
- She is extraverted and I am introverted.
- He is spontaneous and I’m a planner.
The list can go on and on. What happens is the very things that caused us to fall in love with our spouse become the things that drive us the most crazy.
You want to change how you feel about your spouse? Change the way you think about them. Look for the things you have in common. Look for the things that you love about them. It’s amazing how changing our focus can transform our feelings.
What if today you made a list of five things you love about your spouse? What if you thought on that list all day long? You think you’d appreciate them more tonight?
What if you shared that list with your spouse this evening? Small decisions made over time can have a huge impact.