There are times when settling is a good thing, like when you find a place to call home, or when you’re finally able to settle a long-standing argument. Settling on a purchase price of something means both parties are satisfied with the bottom line and agree no more negotiating is necessary. Settling also has permanence to it–like when an avalanche settles at the bottom of a mountain; once the dust clears you know the pile of rocks is there for good.
But there are times when we should never settle, especially in marriage.
We should never settle in:
- Pursuing my spouse. Just because you said “I do” doesn’t mean you’ve said “I’m done”. The marriage is just beginning and your pursuit of them after marriage is more important than your pursuit of them before. Why? Because before you were trying to get them to commit to love you “for as long as you both shall live.” But after you’re married is when the real fun begins. Nights don’t have to end with a good night kiss at the front door. You can complete your heart’s desire as often as you like.
- Studying my spouse. Knowing their likes and dislikes and doing all you can to love them in the way that will mean the most to them.
- Resolving conflicts. If there are areas in your relationship that you know are hot spots, it does no good to ignore the issue. It won’t go away. It will only fester over time and cause even more damage. Do the hard work and get the help you need to resolve issues quickly.
- Love for God. When it comes to our personal relationship with The Lord, we can’t settle. If we do we aren’t standing still, but drifting further apart. It takes a daily commitment to grow in our relationship with God. He desires our time and affection. And giving it to Him wholeheartedly is the best thing we can do to grow our marriage.
Settling brings stagnation and stifles our forward movement.
Like a stream that no longer flows to the sea; if there’s a dam blocking the water, it stagnates and attracts all kinds of unwanted pests. It’s best to deal with the blockage and allow the stream to flow freely again. It will not only be best for your relationship, but also for all those who know and love you.
In what ways have you settled?
I agree! After 18 years of marriage, we are still a work in progress. Everyone knows it’s work. Maybe hardest for me is admitting I need to take responsibility for my own junk and do something about it. I just finished reading a great new book that, among other things, addresses respect and honoring our spouse and being responsible for our own actions, as wives, but that translates to husbands, too. It focuses on effectively influencing our marriages in a positive way by changing what we can – ourselves – our attitudes, actions, decision, priorities and words. It’s called “The Wholehearted Wife: 10 Keys to a More Loving Relationship,” by Erin, Greg and Gary Smalley. Biblical, inspirational, affirming. One of my favorite quotes is, “When we turn to God for help, he fills us with his love and enables us to see ourselves and our husbands through his eyes. Keep in mind that a wholehearted wife focuses first on her own heart!” I highly recommend it!
You make a great point: “admitting I need to take responsibility for my own junk and do something about it.” It’s so true! So many couples get caught up in the blame-shifting and refuse to give in and admit they’re also as you said, “a work in progress.”
What a difference it would make if couples would be purposeful in this one area.
The book recommend sounds really good. Thanks so much for mentioning it.