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Just for You – April

Take the First Step Towards Your Spouse or Child 

A few months ago, we were having breakfast like normal.  As usual, Ethan finished breakfast before his s-l-o-w sisters.  There were dishes to be done.  He walked over to the sink to begin helping Team Pellicane.

Then he stopped.

IMG_1394He turned to me and said, “Why do I have to do the dishes?  I already did the garbage and the girls haven’t done anything.”

He was right.  He had done more than the girls.  And in the moment, it hit me.  This was in microcosm an example of what happens in all of our relationships.

We look at the other person and say, “Wait a minute.  I’ve done a lot more here.  I’ve put in more effort.  Isn’t it your turn for once to pitch in?”  

It’s what I’ve heard wives say as they pick up my book 31 Days to a Happy Husband.  “Why should I do anything to make him happy?  I do so much already.” 

We look at the level our spouses are putting into the marriage to gauge what we are required to do.  But we’re called to show up and give 100 percent regardless.  That’s called serving one another.  Loving one another.  Submitting to one another. 

Is that hard?  Is that against our nature?

You bet!  It’s easy to shift the blame for a struggling relationship on the uncooperative spouse, teen, or child.  But real change starts when we accept responsibility for our own behavior and do the right thing regardless.

“Ethan,” I told my son at the sink.  “You’re right, you’ve done more than the girls.  But go ahead and do the dishes.  It won’t always be fair but don’t worry.  You reap what you sow my dear.”

Ethan demonstrates responsibility as a sixth grader and as a result, he’s going on a 20 mile backpacking trip with his Royal Rangers troop this weekend.  He’s being rewarded for his faithfulness and reaping what he has sown at the kitchen sink.

Regardless of his sisters’ actions (or inaction).

Take the first step to do the right thing in your home.  Don’t wait for your teen to apologize first.  Don’t wait for your husband to bring you flowers and dinner.

Do the right thing.  Throw away your ledger of wrongs and take the next step to love your family member today.

Listen to this song by Steven Curtis Chapman if you are struggling with taking that next step.  You may not know what to do, but God will help you.  He will give you wisdom for your relationships if you ask (James 1:5).  Don’t stay stuck in disappointment or hurt.  Move forward and God will carry you through.