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Keep the Long View

Even the best of marriages go through seasons of highs and lows. Feelings can swing from being crazy about your partner to having your partner drive you crazy. That’s natural. The key is to maihow-we-see-thingsntaina long-term perspective and not let the little things bring you down.

I recently had a day that I had to keep in perspective. Tara (my wife) had to go into the office early. She asked that I bring our son in an hour later so she could drive him to school once I started work. This was not an unusual arrangement, in fact we had done this multiple times. But on this day, I couldn’t find my car keys. Anywhere… I searched the house, checked pants pockets in the laundry hamper, looked on tables and counters. All to no avail. I tried to call Tara, but she didn’t answer.

My frustration was growing as I frantically try to figure out how to get myself to work  and my son to school. I keep trying to call her, but to no avail. I realized that I have an antique Corvair convertible in the garage that I don’t drive often (or far). Of course, on this day it is pouring down rain, so my son and I have to wrestle the top up. Because I haven’t driven it in awhile, my license plates are a couple of months expired, but I decide I’ll have to take the risk. We get the car loaded with our stuff and get ready to go.

I open the garage door and suddenly realize that my primary car (you know, the one for which I have no keys) is parked almost directly behind the Corvair. I can’t move it so my frustration increases. I try to call Tara again, but of course – still no answer.

My son convinces me that we can squeeze past the parked car and the side of the garage if I’m really careful. And with a couple of inches to spare, we did just that. So after what has taken thirty minutes to get out of the driveway, we finally head towards the office. The wipers on the old car don’t really work. They swipe once every time I hit a button, but there’s no constant on-setting that works. So I make the 15 minute drive to the office with one hand on the gear shift, one hand on the wheel and the other hand on the wiper button (I know… that’s three hands, but that’s what it felt like I needed.) Our son kept trying to call his mom to see if she by chance happened to know where my keys were in hopes I could turn around and take my legal vehicle. But no answer.

When we finally get to the office, I’m pretty perturbed, and I’m not hiding it well. After I interrogate her about where my keys might have been, she finds them in her purse, right beside her phone. Of course I ask her to check for missed calls, and she sees the fifteen that I made over the last hour. It turns out she had silenced her phone the night before and didn’t know it was ringing in her purse.  I found myself scolding her for taking my keys, for not answering her phone and throwing horrific scenarios at her. “What if there had been a real emergency?” She felt terrible about what had happened, but in that moment, I felt the need to make her feel worse.

I was furious and suppose I had every “right” to be. She left to take our son to school and I had a chance to cool down. And that’s when my long-term perspective kicked in. How bad were things really? I got to work and missed nothing. Our son got to school. And I was still married to the greatest woman that I know. When I considered my morning through this new “lens”, I realized what a lucky man I really am to have the wife that I do. When we got together that evening, I sincerely apologized for losing my temper and speaking in an unkind manner.

Keep things in perspective. Don’t let the little things turn you against your spouse. Thank God that you have a person in your life that you can love unconditionally and that can love you back. We all make mistakes. Our job is not to highlight these and punish one another. Jesus did not rub our nose in our sins, and then forgive us. He showed us grace when we deserved none. That is the model that we need to remember and follow.


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