When Brent and I were first married, my Aunt Mary sent me, together with a box of Godiva chocolate, a clipping out of a Reader's Digest. I can't remember the exact wording, because the clipping has long since been lost, but here's the gist:
"At my bridal shower, women were asked to share words of wisdom for the new bride.
My grandmother, married for 60+ years, wrote, 'At the beginning of our marriage, I decided I would make a list of ten things that, for the sake of our marriage, I would forgive him.'
When she read her advice aloud, we asked her what was on the list.
'I never got around to making that list,' she said. 'When he did something that got me hopping mad I would just think to myself Oooooo, lucky for him that's on the list!'"
I had that story posted on my fridge until we moved, approximately two years, but we were pretty blissful at the time and it didn't really apply. Tubes of toothpaste and toilet seats not withstanding. Mostly it gave me a good chuckle.
Yesterday afternoon we were driving along and I found myself stewing on a particular matter when it flashed across my mind, and not for the first time in the last fifteen years, Lucky for him, that's on the list!
The truth of the matter is that had I actually made the list, most of the things I've felt compelled to forgive "for the sake of my marriage" would never have been on it. It would never have occurred to me that I would need to forgive such offenses for which I have pulled out the list. I probably would have put things like, "Not calling if he's going to be late from work" rather than "Buys company without consulting me first," or "Forgets our anniversary" rather than "Takes on questionable business partners."
For the record, I now like some of his business partners who have proved more faithful than I expected....and I did tell him that I wanted to have no part in the whole buying a company decision. I just didn't expect him to actually listen to that bit of advice.
I'm not saying Brent doesn't have a list a mile long of things that he's forgiven for the sake of our marriage, because I'm sure there is one. He just doesn't talk about it much. He just faithfully gets up every day and loves me anyway. Some days a little more sullen or loud than others.....
Lucky for him, that's on the list.
But if you are struggling in your marriage today, tack a blank list of 10 in your psyche and be prepared to pull it out and use it when you can find no other reason to forgive--particularly when they don't ask for forgiveness.
It really does work.
You can think some devoted Reader's Digest writer's grandmother for that bit of advice.
Oh, and also for the record, we are getting along just fine today. I don't post crap when I'm mad. No sympathetic or otherwise husband-bashing type comments needed.