“Be as easygoing as it is possible to live with as a spouse. You don’t want your spouse to have to walk on egg shells within your marriage.”
That’s great advice that talk show host Dennis Prager gave recently. (You might remember it in the Marriage Insight, What Sage Advice Would You Give a Newlywed?) We just touched upon his advice within that Insight.
But this week we heard Dennis talk a bit more about it. And it sure resonated with us. We’re thinking it might resonate with you too. That’s because it’s NOT easy to be easy going as a spouse. Huh? We can settle into being comfortable within our marriage a bit too much. And when we get too comfortable, we can fall into spouting off at our spouse when they “push our buttons.”
Sometimes, they don’t even do that; we just spout off when we’re in a crabby mood. Or perhaps we take it out on our spouse when someone else pushes our buttons. The list goes on. There are a lot of different “spouting off” opportunities for us when we live together day in and day out.
We’ve been there and have done that. But at this point in our marriage, we’re both making it our goal to be as easy to live with, as it is possible. We didn’t even think to make that a personal goal in our marriage earlier on. But it makes sense. We certainly don’t want to make each other’s lives difficult. That’s not what we promised each other on our wedding day. We promised to “love, honor, and cherish each other.” But maybe we should have included, “And be as easy to live with as possible.” That sure could have helped us to avoid a lot of problems earlier in our marriage.
The Easygoing Goal
Sometimes it’s a matter of being intentional about it. A good question to ask ourselves sometimes would be, “What’s it like to be married to me?” If we kept that question in front of our forethoughts, we might work a little bit harder to be more agreeable and less high maintenance.
Dennis Prager added this thought to the easygoing goal, which he said, “is a great goal.” And we agree. He added:
“Look at the big picture. Don’t get so caught up in the minutia of all that is going on around you. On any given day there’s something to be upset about in life. Let go of the small stuff.”
That brings to mind what someone else said, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s all small stuff.” And that’s (mostly) true. Sometimes it’s a matter of figuring out what you can let go of, so it’s easier on you AND your spouse. And if you have children, it’s beneficial on them, as well.
So, what are some things that can make you easier to live with? Actually we just named three:
1.) Be intentional in being as easy as possible to live with.
2.) Are you too busy to be kind? If you are, you are too busy. Perhaps you need to look at your schedule and figure out what you can let go of so you aren’t so vulnerable to being upset.
3.) Look at the big picture. Is this thing that is upsetting you really going to matter a month, a year, or 5 years from now? If it won’t, and you can let it go, do so. Don’t make a big deal out of something that really isn’t.
We want to add a fourth point here.
4.) Are you easily offended? You might say no, but really think about that one. Take your time. Prayerfully consider what your spouse might say. And prayerfully consider what you believe God would say.
In all honesty:
Steve and I both admit that yes, we do sometimes get offended too easily by the other. At times, we can pick up offenses over the stupidest of things. We don’t mean to, but we are vulnerable to this just like anyone else and it does happen. It just goes to show you:
“Sooner or later …okay, sooner …it’s going to happen. You’re with your husband/wife and someone (not you, right?) gives offense. A comment, a glance, an action …they come in all shapes and sizes but, regardless, no marriage gets a pass when it comes to offenses. It’s what you do with those offenses that determines the nature of your marriage, going forward.” (Matthew L. Jacobson)
We actually wrote an earlier Marriage Insight about this very point. If you haven’t read it, or you want (need) to read it again, here’s the link: Are You Offended by Your Spouse?
Now, we’re not telling you to gloss over important issues. Sometimes we do need to confront our spouse about disturbing issues. But even so, don’t pick at every stinking little thing. And to the best of your ability try to be kind in the way you talk to your spouse. If Jesus were in the room, would you talk to your spouse that way? Oh wait! He is. You (or I) just forgot!
Last Easygoing Point
And here’s one more point on being an easygoing spouse.
5.) Lighten up! Sometimes we get too serious.
As we get caught up in the “minutia” that Dennis referred to, try to shake some things off. Look for the humor in the situation and find ways to laugh with your spouse. Laughter is bonding.
“If you and your spouse can’t laugh about your marriage and the extremes you sometimes go to in order to get each other’s attention, then you both need to visit the chiropractor to have your finny bones adjusted. Each day has seeds of laughter and it’s your job to water them. Don’t take each other so seriously. Laughter will help each of you keep your sanity and your marriage on common ground.” (Joey O’Connor)
Be intentional, as far as aiming to be as easygoing to live with as possible:
“Spend as much time as possible laughing with your marriage partner. Look for funniness is life and share it with each other, even during difficult times. Shared happiness is the mortar that holds your house together. Mix humor into your marriage as consciously as you mix passion, insight, and judgment. Sometimes the only thing that gets you over a rough spot is a whistle or a smile.” (Toni Sciarra Poynter)
This is a Reminder
Now, we realize those five points don’t amount to an exhaustive list of ways to make life easier for you to live together. But that’s not our intention. It’s more of a reminder to make it a goal to be as easygoing of a spouse to live with, as it is possible.
Yes, you still have responsibilities to take care of in your everyday life together. And yes, sometimes your spouse can be difficult to live with. You don’t have total control over his or her choices. Also, you may have major problems going on in your life. These can include chronic illness, problems with children, jobs, housing, and the list goes on. Life happens.
But to the best of your ability, don’t add to those problems by being spiky, vindictive, irritable, and/or too involved in other things (like social media) so you forget to connect in positive ways with your spouse. Just make it a conscious goal to “be civil with each other.” Try to be as easygoing of a person to live with as you (reasonably) can. It’s a great goal to aim for.
But above all, make it your goal to live out what we’re told in Romans 12:18.
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
That is our goal. We hope it is yours, as well.
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below:
If you are not a subscriber to the Marriage Insights (emailed out weekly)
and you would like to receive them directly, click onto the following:
More from Marriage Missions
Filed under: Marriage Insights