Marriage blog: Shut off the soap opera.

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I love friendships.  As much of an introvert as I like to think I am, I’ve grown to love people and the relationships that come from that. The greatest relationship, outside of my relationship with Christ, is what I have with my wife.  And if I’m not careful, I can allow other relationships to steal energy, attention, passion, and from my wife.

Bear with me…

I’m a stubborn movie-goer.  I will endure a terrible movie because, “I paid money and I’m gonna find some scene/part that is gonna convince me it was worth it.” I can be the same way with TV shows and even my sports teams (darn you Detroit Lions and my years of watching you lose).  For some reason, the little investment I made seems to be the reason I feel obligated to continue to feed that “thing” with my attention hoping the I’ll have some return on my investment.

In the end, whether with my movies or teams, I find myself feeling cheated. I feel used. There seems to be blocks of time I know I will NEVER get back.  But what do I still do? I keep running back hoping for better times and experiences.  But over and over I go back to these “things” that I know full well that will siphon me of time, money, and/or emotions while leaving me less of what I should.  The cycle of drama seems unending my life

You may make better movie/TV/sports choices than me.  But there are a number of you that chose to suckle upon certain relationships hoping they’ll feed you something worth the attention you’ve already invested.  In the end, they have drawn you into soap opera-like drama only to leave you in a place where you are less than what you should be.  You get drawn into drama that siphons emotion, mental, physical, and spiritual strength from you…

And when your mate comes to you, you’ve got NOTHING left for them.

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You marital communication dies down since you’ve exhausted your words on someone else.  Quality time is no longer desired because you want to be alone.  The marriage bed has far less activity because you don’t feel like you don’t want anything and/or you don’t have anything left to give.

You’ve been cheated. You’re spouse is being cheated.  You’re marriage get’s the leftovers of an individual disoriented from the motion sickness of the unending drama in other people’s lives.

If you are bringing their drama to the house…
If you find yourself obsessing over their facebook drama…
If you find yourself constantly fielding calls, texts, facebook messages, etc during dates and/or family time…
If your spouse is showing signs of jealousy over the attention you are giving others that he/she should be getting…
if you are engaging with them to the sacrifice of your marriage…

…then it’s time to shut off the soap opera.  It’s time to limit (or possibly cut off) their time.  They’ll survive just fine.

First, find your completeness in Christ. 

The main characters of your life cannot be them.  The main character of their life cannot be you.  I like what John the Baptist said in Matthew 3:11-12, the main character must be Christ. 

(The Message)“I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. The real action comes next: The main character in this drama—compared to him I’m a mere stagehand—will ignite the kingdom life within you, a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out.

Our fullness comes from choosing Christ as the main character of the narrative that is our lives.  It’s from His fulness that He pours into our incompleteness AND it’s out of that place where we are able to help others. I believe we are meant to be contributors instead of consumers.  But contributing to people doesn’t mean that our marriage gets sacrificed because someone doesn’t know how to shut their mouth and control their emotions.

Second, draw boundaries. 

Again, I love people.  I enjoy friends. I love helping individuals. BUT…being a friend and a helper doesn’t mean we get allow people to abuse us with their drama.  Being a Christ-follower and friend doesn’t mean we don’t have boundaries.  There are times that Jesus was with the crowd.  Other times he went off with the twelve or even the three (Peter, James, and John).  Jesus even found moments where he’d get away from them to spend time with himself. Why?  Boundaries are places of safety and rest from the crowd.

Some of you need THAT rest; a rest from the drama of others.

Lastly, don’t stop being a helping hand to people.

Don’t stop being a contributor in life.  Don’t stop helping those who are hurting. Through the strength of the Holy Spirit, don’t stop pouring compassion upon others.

BUT….the only way you can be of help, while keeping a healthy marriage, is to keep the top priorities the top priorities.

The top priorities:

  1. Jesus
  2. Spouse
  3. Kids
  4. Everything else

Thanks for letting me ramble…

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