If you watch the news, you know about the crisis in San Diego last week. It shook us to the core. It left people stranded. It closed businesses and schools, and shut down beaches for an entire …day and a half. (Are you hearing the Walter Cronkite voice-over?)
Yes, my friends, the power went out and an entire county went into a tizzy because some guy at the power company tripped a line.
That’s not the first time crazy-out-of-proportion responses followed unremarkable situations. It happens every day in homes all over the world. Where two people, once doe-eyed and enraptured with each other, find themselves yelling about who left their dirty socks by the bed and who didn’t clear their dish from dinner.
Benjamin Franklin, a guy who knew the value of diplomacy, hit the nail on the head when he said, “Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, and half-shut afterwards.”
How do we do that? We deliberately choose to close our eyes to:
- Resentment and negativity. These not only mean we’re keeping our eyes open to every fault and mistake our spouse makes, but that we’ve got a high-powered magnifying lens focused on them! Do you have the right to be annoyed at the socks he left on the floor again? Yes! But allowing your annoyance to smoulder into resentment works against you and the relationship with the guy who’s worth more than the stinky socks.
- Anger. It’s easy to get angry when we’re tired and overwhelmed. The emotion feels so powerful it’s hard to choose the more vulnerable feelings instead. But the root of anger is always something else – something that, if we allowed it to come to the surface, can open the door for deeper relationship with our spouse. When we choose to shut our eyes to anger, we open them to the hope of connection and true closeness.
- The idea of fairness. Life isn’t fair, as we all know, and neither are relationships. There are seasons when one gives more than the other, and seasons when giving is reciprocal. When we withhold good from our spouse to level out some wrong they’ve done to us, we’re playing god. But when we instead give lavishly, suddenly there’s more than enough to go around… even on the worst days!
- The mundane. It’s easy to get sucked in to the day to day so much that we forget who we are – what we’re great at, our opinions, insights and wit. I know after a day of balancing work, home and discipline, I have trouble caring about current events, good books or (and this is getting really honest) what my husband did at work that day. If I’m going to feel like a partner instead of a house maid, I have to act like one. When we shut our eyes to the laundry, appointments, diapers and other mundane stuff in life, we open them to dynamic partnership again.
While these seem like colossal efforts sometimes, they’re worth it. After all, who wouldn’t want to pick up their socks for a fun, smart, playful and gracious partner-in-crime?? (I know, one can only wish, right??)
I’d love to hear from you! What’s the hardest on the list for you to turn a blind eye to? What’s the easiest?
Here’s to selective relational blindness!