Whew, yesterday I got the opportunity to go to our couples ministry at church and when I tell you that the session was heavy ..i’m talking elephant carrying a hippo.
Why? What could have made a meeting about love and serving your spouse feel like the scene of a murder?
This particular class was about the reality of living with a person who is just as broken as you and the inevitable roadblocks that you’ll encounter as you journey through life and the feelings we will face when endeavor to get our needs met via another person.
Before we dive in, how did our church land on such a potentially disheartening topic? We were working through the book – “Families where Grace is in Place” by Jeff VanVonderen. The book goes through and mentions (and we’ve heard it in some or fashion) through life that:
“That no man or woman is powerful enough to provide life and value to their spouse. Spouses weren’t created by God to “fix” spouses. Jesus came ot provide life and value to each one of us.”-Jeff VanVonderen
Basically a relationship in which performance is demanded or expected is a no-win situation for both parties.
I’ll admit in our relationship this was particularly difficult for me to hear. I think this message is always tough for the planner, fixer, or someone who has grown up with the performance model in their family of origin. This probably describes me to a T. I’ve enjoyed some of the benefits of having this performance based model – in that it has pushed me to perform and achieve, which can pay some nice dividends in things like career and finances. However, in the soul deep level of happiness, this approach to life is deeply toxic. This predilection towards performance lends itself to a focus on comparison and not really being able to rest and enjoy the gift of life that God has given. You may also find yourself growing resentful of people attached to you who are not performing up to your standards. This can be absolute kryptonite to a relationship. There is nothing less sexy than an atmosphere of expectation that ushers in a cycle of disappointment and pressure when people don’t perform up to your standards.
The last couple of sessions we were outlining the problem and in today’s session – it really hit home because we had spent the morning arguing about unmet needs and every word of the book had rattled around my head but hadn’t made it to my heart just yet.
My next post I’ll tackle what I learned from our session and start ot unpack my next steps as I try to apply the word to my real-life marriage.
Pray for me.
Fly or Fall.