Keeping Short Accounts
There is an article, written by a dear friend, David Knapp, which we just posted and presently put it in as the “Featured Article” this week on this web site. It’s titled, When Death ‘Parts’ Us. If you haven’t read it PLEASE do. It’s impactful!
David lost two wonderful wives to cancer. His first wife’s name was Ruth —someone Steve and I loved and respected a lot. Her compassion and tenderness in the Lord was contagious. Our kids went to the same school for a while and we saw each other at times because of the ministries we were involved in, within the same city. Whenever we were together it was always such a positive and wonderful experience —something we will always treasure.
Years later, we had the opportunity to meet Judith —a vibrant, beautiful woman, inside and out. Who couldn’t love her immediately? We sure did. She personally helped Steve and me with the prodigal issues she shared with us —being very vulnerable and truthful. She cried with me as moms together who prayed for our “children,” and encouraged me in ways I will never forget. She and David beamed together in love, with their passion to share Jesus with everyone God brought their way —a true inspiration!
The fact that David lost another precious wife is so difficult to imagine. But how much Steve and I appreciate David for being so open with his feelings, his struggles, and this present journey. Please read the article. I have no doubt that you will gain much from that which the Lord will speak to your heart about, that you will benefit from learning.
One of the many points David brought out that I’d like to expand on a bit is his statement where he wrote:
“Keep all relationships current. To this day, I have no relationship regrets with either Ruth or Judith because we lived out our relationships with short, current accounts.”
GREAT ADVICE —that which I wish all married couples could embrace and follow!
I’m reminded that I wrote a blog a while back titled, Marriage Relationship Repair in which I talked about the same principle that David referred to in his article. My husband Steve and I have learned a lot of important principles (the hard way), which have helped and are helping to keep our marriage growing and vital. One of them is:
We have learned to keep shorter “accounts” —which doesn’t mean that we keep score so much on who does what, but that we both make efforts to repair the tension faster. We also work through our issues thoroughly so we don’t let problems mount up.
Something else that has helped us is we have a commitment (which we’ve kept for the majority of our marriage) where we pray together every morning. It’s difficult to hold hands and pray together if we haven’t repaired our relationship beforehand, or at least have a good working start on repairing it. I’m sure that commitment has helped us in MANY ways, including the fact that God answers prayer. The old saying is true, “the couple who [earnestly] prays together stays together.”
If you and your spouse haven’t yet learned to do this —to “keep short accounts” with each other, I can’t recommend it highly enough (to the degree that your spouse will participate with you). It’s a good goal to have. Dave and his wives learned this important principle and we have too. Because of this, we have no regrets.
I have to say that when we first heard about doing this (many years into our marriage) it was a tough thing for us to do. We had developed unhealthy habits of stuffing, avoiding, and jumping on each other verbally instead of sitting down before things grew more complicated and talking about the matter when it wasn’t a H.A.L.T. Time (when we weren’t Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired). We both had a lot of sore feelings that had accumulated over the years.
But when we started to work through the accumulated stuff we got to a better side of it all. Eventually there wasn’t much that was hidden, waiting to jump out so we could dump it out onto the other. But I have to confess that things were quite upsetting for a while. Yet we were determined that we HAD to clear out the baggage. So for a “season” we fought through a lot of old stuff to clear the air that was horribly stinking things up through the first years of our marriage.
But because we did this, we got to a much better place in our relationship. We now keep our “accounts” with each other MUCH shorter so we’re less volatile when we argue. We work out our differences BEFORE they can get to the wrecking ball stage. We aim at not being hysterical OR historical with each other… “For ten years I’ve been biting my tongue on this so now I want you to listen…” You’ve probably been there and have done that too, or know others who do.
Please don’t allow yourself to accumulate resentment and angst towards each other. To the best of your ability, aim to be healthy in your communication with each other. I once heard someone say, “Your relationship will only be as healthy as the least emotionally healthy person in your marriage. Aim to be the healthiest one.” It’s not a contest, but rather a good personal goal.
We’re told in Romans 12:18 ESV, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Of course the “all” written in God’s Word, the Bible, includes your spouse. You can’t MAKE your spouse live with you in peaceable ways and join you to keep your “accounts” short. But hopefully, he or she will want to join you in this mission. Yet no matter what, you CAN do your part in doing the best you can, with the Holy Spirit as your “Wonderful Counselor.”
As I conclude on this point that David Knapp made on this issue, I want to close with something Sabrina Beasley wrote in the Familylife.com article, 10 Surprising Ways to Increase Romance. Here’s idea #2:
“Keep short accounts and extend forgiveness regularly. Nothing will ruin a desire to be with your spouse faster than resentment and bitterness. In return, it also ruins your spouse’s desire to be with you. Fights are going to happen in marriage; there’s no way around it. But you can choose to handle these conflicts in the right way and build up your marriage instead of tearing it down.
“In Ephesians 4:31-32, the apostle Paul exhorts, ‘Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.‘”
This blog is written by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International.