“Stupidity got me into this mess —why can’t it get me out?” We laughed at that line when we read it. And then we were also reminded of the all too familiar quote, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.” Actually, when you apply this to our marital journey together, isn’t that a way of “going the stupid route?”
And why is that? Why do we go down the “stupid route” of expecting things to magically change when we don’t? It’s probably because we’re challenged in our thinking, to say the least. That’s a different way of saying that we aren’t applying our smarts.
The Stupid Route
There are a lot of times, in the marriage relationship, when we can take the wrong road to change things. Here’s one stupid route we can fall into. It’s saying more than we should. We can believe that the more we say about something, the more logical it will sound. But that can backfire.
What we’ve learned over the years is that sometimes “less is more.” As we’re told in Proverbs 10:19: “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” However, that does not give us the excuse NOT to talk when we should. How can you grow your partnership together if you don’t talk to each other? That’s another stupid route that some spouses take.
The Disrespectful, Stupid Route
And then how about the stupid route “thesis” that if we treat our spouse disrespectfully, it will teach him or her a “lesson.” Many spouses believe this will inspire changes in their behavior? Huh?
Or we think that if he or she treats us disrespectfully, we can join along in the same type of behavior. We think, surely THAT will smooth things over and put our relationship back in the right direction!
Again, huh? Really? That may seem logical to us at the time. But when you really stop to think about it …you’re traveling down that stupid route.
What we’ve found is that disrespectful “talk” just escalates matters all the more. You then get caught up in volleying back and forth in being defensive with and also offending each other.
That’s another stupid route too many couples take—getting caught up in “Right Fighting.” We want to prove we’re “right” to such a degree that we keep on fighting until it appears we’re right and our spouse is wrong. But it all comes down to fighting to a BITTER end or a BETTER end! A bitter end would result in a loss for everyone concerned, where a better end means you both win!
Being Stupid With Words
The Lord recently reminded us of the scriptures, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” (Proverbs 14:1) You can also say that with her own words and attitude “the foolish one tears hers down.”
Also, we’re told in God’s word: “Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.” (Proverbs 21:19)
But that doesn’t let the husband off the hook either. In the Bible we’re told: “If a man pays back evil for good, evil will never leave his house.” (Proverbs 17:13) Plus: “Words from a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips. At the beginning his words are folly. At the end they are wicked madness—and the fool multiplies words.” (Ecclesiastes 10:12-13)
You can see the stupid route that many of us travel when we act foolish within our marriages. If you’ve traveled any of those routes, here’s what we’re told in God’s word to do. It talks about “neighbors” but who’s a closer neighbor than your spouse?
“If you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth, then do this to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor’s [spouse’s] hands: Go humble yourself. Press your plea with your neighbor [spouse]! Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids.” (Proverbs 6:2-5)
Here’s more stupid route stuff:
What about the situation where one spouse says to the other, “That’s YOUR problem—NOT MINE!” Now, just how stupid is that? VERY!
You become partners when you marry. Remember? We’re told in the Bible to “cleave” to one another and “become one” in marriage. Jesus said, “The two shall be one.” So it’s all about marrying your differences. Marriage is all about serving and loving one another for the rest of your lives.
“Couples who are successful adopt the motto that, ‘If you’re hurting, the world stops and I listen. I’m with you.'” (The Gottman Institute)
Read your Bible. Apply the principles of caring and sharing to your marriage. And make sure God is smack dab in the center of it all.
We’re told in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.“
Participate with God and with each other in lifting each other up when one of you is down. If one of you has a problem, you both have a problem. Be supportive.
Another Stupid Route Move?
Don’t spend so much time on your phone or social media so that your spouse feels neglected and lonely. You didn’t marry to leave your spouse lonely and wanting.
What’s a smart route?
“Love the one you’re with. Boundaries like these establish strong family values. When you’re with someone, that relationship is your priority. Retraining takes time if you and your spouse are addicted to your devices. But keeping them in their rightful place, ‘opens up the door to more intimate communication.’ Life is too short. Let’s not invest what little time we have in meaningless endeavors.” (Dave Boehi, from the article, “Setting Boundaries for Mobile Technology“)
Here’s another Stupidity That We Can Walk Into:
Blabbing to your friends, other family members or anyone about things that would embarrass your spouse is a dumb move. That is betrayal. Again, we are supposed to be partners, not adversaries.
What’s a smarter route to take?
“Be your spouse’s biggest encourager, not his/her biggest critic. Be the one who wipes away their tears, not the one who causes them.” (Dave Willis)
Another Stupid Route That Too Many Spouses Take?
They adopt the statement (from “The Love Story” movie): “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Those are among the stupidest words that have ever been said! To that attitude we want to share the (much smarter) following marriage tips:
“That old statement ‘Love means never having to say you’re sorry’ drives me crazy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Love means having to say you’re sorry …a lot. Mature love drives the husband to ask forgiveness of his wife every time he realizes he’s hurt her in any way. Mature love compels a wife to say, ‘I’m sorry,’ and make amends whenever she sees she has wounded her husband.
“The apostle James put it this way: ‘Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.’ (James 5:16) We usually interpret this verse with regard to a sick human body. The principle can also apply, however, to an ailing marriage. If you want a marriage that burns brighter through the years, then open up and confess your sins to each other.” (Ed Young)
“All couples need a healing mechanism, a way to turn a new page in marriage. Knowing how and when to say you’re sorry can make a big difference. Ask yourself when and how you apologize. Does one of you apologize more than the other? Do you use apologies to whitewash issues? A sincere apology will leave you with a relieved sense of the air being cleared and a renewed feeling of closeness.” (Les and Leslie Parrott)
Above all of the marriage tips given here, ask God for wisdom in how you interact with each other. And then apply the wisdom He gives.
For it is written:
“If you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.
“For the LORD gives wisdom. From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright. He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless. For he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.“
Yep! Doing things God’s way—that’s the path we want to walk upon. And we hope you do too. There’s nothing stupid about that. Actually, it seems to be pretty stupid to go any other way! Doing things God’s way is the wisest of all.
Lord, may it be so, for those of us who are so inspired to read and live out your Word.
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
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