Walking into home following a normal — but not necessarily easy — day at work, Ralph encounters his wife Marlene. And we do mean encounters.
“Ralph, where on earth have you been? The kids need help, I called and left a message within the last half an hour, and I simply cannot handle it! Do I hear from you at all? No. No! I’ve just about had it.”
Throwing the kitchen towel on the floor she hits the door and says, “You feed yourself and the kids. I’m outta here!”
Inside, Ralph is clueless. He knows Marlene has been under stress lately and not feeling well. And for the record: he did send a text message back to her as we was going into a meeting.
He takes a deep breath, checks out the kids to see how they are reacting, puts his arm around one that seems close to tears, answers kindly and begins to get dinner.
Why? Why would Ralph respond that way instead of reacting in self-defense, some sort of self-justification, or possibly even anger? Honestly, there could be any number of reasons for his response, but we will consider at least one very real possibility:
Because at some point in his past he chose to live as a person of character in his marriage and that choice governed his responses during these tension filled moments.
Should this individual be a real person, would we be safe to assume that at other times he fell short of his desires and “blew it?” Absolutely. After all, no one is perfect.
“So what’s the point?” you ask.
Our point is this:
Decisions based on closely held values
and carried out with a firm sense of commitment
make a difference in our everyday worlds.
Reflect on the importance of these concepts:
For the purposes of our discussion, think of these concepts as they might be brought together in a statement of mission Ralph created in his past: a statement of mission designed to formulate how he wanted to live as a marriage partner.
It may have been something very, very simple to read — yet vitally important in relationship to the circumstances of his life. By way of example, suppose he created this set of words to govern his marriage relationship:
“I will live as a sensitive,
non-judgmental, faithful and encouraging
life-long partner with my wife.”
Reviewing that statement, what values might come to mind that could have caused someone to construct something of this nature?
Obviously, many could be cited. Sensitivity, faithfulness, acceptance, affirmation, balance, courage, self-control, integrity, leadership, compassion, love, godliness, and wisdom could be just a few.
Any one of these values named above could have served to shape Ralph’s character: any one. Was Ralph raised in a home devastated by a lack of compassion? Or, did his home reflect the positive effects of living in a compassionate atmosphere?
Either way, we completely understand — you completely understand — the role that closely held values play in our lives. And, you realize what a solid commitment to any positive value can mean in the way you choose to live.
Now reflect on this: imagine the power of a statement of mission…
Being formed in your heart,
based on your most cherished values,
formulated with words completely meaningful to you,
and designed to govern how you choose to live.
Now travel with us one step further and imagine the power such a statement might hold within the context of a marriage relationship: your marriage.
~ Delight In Marriage ~
Shared delight in marriage
is a purpose to affirm,
a practice to repeat
and an encore to applaud.
© Lee Wise