I hear it quite often,
“There’s a huge spider. I need you to come get it.”
In my home, it’s a statement both my wife and my daughter use. It never is “There’s a spider…” but “There’s a HUGE spider…” And, over time, their judgement on “size” has dulled my urgency a bit. When I get to the location of this immense arachnid, I can barely see it as it doesn’t resemble anything I’ve seen on Arachnophobia. I confess moments of mocking them in their views of the danger and/or size of the spider. I’ll even admit to lashing out in frustration. I can be engaged in something, but they insist I stop everything I’m doing to tackle this menace that is threatening the very existence of our home and family (even as I type that, sarcasm drips from the screen).
Value is a huge issue in today’s marriage. And if there’s anything that I’ve learned from taking care of the “huge” spider is this: How I respond to my spouse will add value or remove it. How I acknowledge and react to my spouse can make them feel as a significant member of the marriage or reduce them to feeling like just a bystander. I’d love to say that I’ve successfully mastered this. But based upon some of my latest responses, I have some growth to do.
Far too often, I hear, “I don’t feel important in my marriage.” Before you chalk this up to the thought of a young adult early in their marriage, this has been the sad statement of those 20+ years into marriage. It is the fatigued, tear-soaked confession of someone longing to have their spouse recognize and embrace them place by valuing what he/she finds as “important.”
My simple spider lesson: When I value my spouse’s concerns, I value my spouse. The spider (in and of itself) doesn’t matter to me personally. But it matters to Anne. Therefore, the spider is important to me.
How many “spider” issues have we ignored and ended up blowing up? You ignored a special day or moment because it “wasn’t a big deal” to you. And, lo and behold, it escalated to something bigger. Why? Because it really wasn’t about the “thing” but about the “person.” Pausing my DVR to take care of the spider cost me nothing and gained the appreciation of my wife. Mocking or devaluing her concern gained me nothing and cost me a moment or, perhaps, an evening. Again, “spider” issues are less about the “spiders” and more about value. And if you can get that, I promise, the outcome will pay healthy dividends.
Here’s few thoughts about value:
Find your value in Christ.
I’m huge on John 1 where scripture says, “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” Unless you find your fullness in Christ, you will always place demands on your spouse that he/she are not equipped to provide.
Your value matters more than most.
Who amongst us doesn’t want to feel important to the most important person in our lives? I’ll be honest, someone can tell me “Great sermon last Sunday” and it’ll encourage me. But if my wife says it, I’m ready to go take on the whole world. And the same is about value. When YOU are the one to bring value to your spouse, the weight is heavier than if it came from her/his parent or friend. Your reactions and responses carry tremendous weight. Use them to add value.
Don’t do it to get it. But don’t be surprised if you do.
Anytime you do something in order to get something, others will read it as manipulation. Your spouse can sense if you’re doing this to try position them for personal gain. Stay about from “keeping score” or “comparing what you’ve done” so that he/she can see how awesome you are. Reject anything that exalts you and do everything that reflects the Christ in you. Jesus taught us to serve first. He showed us how much He valued us by His sacrifice. And I think we can learn something from that. We don’t serve in order to be served. But don’t be surprised if your spouse catches that Christ-likeness you possess to show up in him/her.
It’s not about convincing your spouse “what is” and “what isn’t” important.
Stop trying to change your spouse. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job. It’s your job to love your spouse. Far too many people waste precious moments on trying to convince your spouse of what is “important” when you really need to work on conveying who is “important.” Step back from “fixing” or “changing” and look at loving, encouraging, and embracing.
My personal reminder about “spider issues”: The “thing” (in and of itself) that is important to Anne may not be important to me. But what’s important to me is Anne. Therefore, what’s important to Anne should be important to me.
Get up and take care of the spider. Show value and build up your spouse today.
Love you all. Praying for you.
Thanks for letting me ramble…
BTW: Check out my book. Click on the link below.