My sole goal of this week’s marriage blog is simple: I want you to stop saying “Don’t worry about it!”
Two weeks ago we began a new series entitled “Marital Catchphrases” in which we look at the random phrases we toss out almost flippantly to our spouses while potentially losing the meaning behind the words. The scripture for this series is: Proverbs 13:3 “Careful words make for a careful life; careless talk may ruin everything.” (The Message) In our last two blogs, we attacked the simple, yet overused catchphrases “Yes Dear” and “I’m Sorry.” Today we hit another one.
“Don’t worry about it!“
“How much did you spend at the store?” “Don’t worry about it!”
“What are you looking at on your computer?” “Don’t worry about it!”
“What did you say to your mother?” “Don’t worry about it!”
“When are you going to be home?” “Don’t worry about it!”
(I can almost hear the temperature of tempers rising…you’ve heard this “catchphrase” before haven’t you?)
It was about 9 or so years ago and we were on vacation in Florida with my entire family. My parents had rented a hug home for the entire family to stay in. On our first night there, Anne had waken up to find me missing from the bed. She walked out to the living room area to find me sitting in the dark on my computer intently staring at the screen. All I heard was “What in the world are you doing at 4am?” My reply?
“Don’t worry about it. Go back to bed.”
With all the volume she could muster without waking up my parents and my sister’s family, I heard these words, “DON’T YOU DARE TELL ME THAT!!! I’M YOUR ACCOUNTABILITY AND YOU ARE GOING TO TELL ME RIGHT NOW WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING AT!”
I hung my head in shame. I looked up at her and showed her my screen. “Babe, Marty and I are against each other in our Fantasy Baseball Championship and I had to wake up and get my players before he gets up…I gotta beat him!”
The only reply she gave was, “This is stupid…I’m going back to bed.”
When you hear those words “Don’t worry about it“, what do you hear? (I’m not talking about the casual response to a silly situation: “I ordered you a Coke instead of Pepsi…sorry.” “It’s okay. Don’t worry about it.”)
I’m talking about the way that you and I use this catchphrase to simply say “It’s none of your business” but without the harshness. That’s what it means doesn’t it? We get an inquiry that we don’t want to have to explain so we drop the catchphrase. Some people will utilize it to escape shame and embarrassment as to not get caught. I don’t know how you use it, but that simple little catchphrase has been used to fracture so many marriages.
How? First, the words “Don’t worry about it” fractures the sense of oneness of your marriage. Genesis 2:25 says, Adam and Eve were “naked and unashamed.” There was nothing hidden between them. It’s a phenomenal pattern for any marriage. To have emotional, spiritual, mental, and, yes, physical nakedness within your marriage fosters that cohesive oneness that guides a healthy marriage. When you start masking your actions with “Don’t worry about it“, you are beginning to turn your marriage into two silos instead of the oneness that the Lord intended.
Secondly, the words “Don’t worry about it” fractures the trust of your marriage. The second you begin to hide actions, thoughts, and feelings behind that catchphrase, you put mystery in the mind of your spouse regarding your “private” life. (NOTE: If you are keeping a private life hidden from your spouse, you’ve got some serious marital challenges coming your way…but that’s for another blog.) I don’t care if you don’t thing your husband/wife wouldn’t understand the business, finances, home, etc. If they’re asking about something, tell them. Let him/her decide if they want to ask again. Ignorance is not bliss! What your spouse needs to see is that your life is an open book to him/her. In 1 Corinthians 7, we read “The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.” Even though the context is sex and intimacy, the principle of ownership and oneness is applicable. You belong to each other and you cannot purposely keep things whether for convenience, concealment, or solitude.
Lastly, the words “Don’t worry about it” fractures the your heart toward your spouse. When you start giving yourself permission to use this catchphrase, you are taking one step way from your spouse and one step closer to fostering a heart of a “single” life. When you were not married, you lived and operated for yourself. This can’t exist in marriage. But to keep using this catchphrase, you move one step back to that single life. You begin to form a separate life outside of the life of your marriage. Our marriage is echoed out of our relationship with Christ. If we are fracturing our life into a life outside of our relationship with God, it leads to a life of instability. James says “Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” Don’t invite instability into your marriage or your walk with Christ. Live with the oneness in your heart.
As we stated in each blog, “Careful words make for a careful life; careless talk may ruin everything.” Guard yourself from this simple catchphrase fracturing your marriage. Talk with your spouse. Ask if he/she has heard you used this one. Ask what they hear when you use it. If needed…ask for forgiveness.
Till next Friday…
Thanks for letting me ramble…