Not long ago, I had made a decision to “go the extra mile” in my relationship with my husband. I would do things to let him know how grateful I was for him. We weren’t in a bad relationship, but the “fire” had seemed to dim just a bit. It is so easy to become complacent with relationships, and with work, our business, kids, church, soccer, and everything else….well our relationship just needed a little nudge.
I started doing things around the house to lighten his load. I told him how nice he looked. I told him more often how much I loved him. I did this for three days. So why was I so angry with him on day four?
The conversation went something like this, “Haven’t you noticed what all I’ve been doing? You haven’t complimented me unless I complimented you first. You didn’t see the laundry pile and put a load in for me.” His face deflated, as he thought the last three days were great and that we were closer. He was confused. Weren’t we doing great? But in my mind, I wasn’t getting back what I put in. My decision to go the extra mile ended.
To be honest, this is a conversation that we have had a few times over our marriage. I would do things for him, or vice versa, but then our feelings would get hurt when we felt the other person wasn’t reciprocating the way we wanted them to.
This is the toxicity of “I.” Doing something for others but then being upset when we feel the other person does not give us back an equal amount of whatever we give them. My focus on going the extra mile changed from him to me and why wasn’t I getting what I needed. I hadn’t started that way…I truly wanted to show him my love. So why did it change?
We all need our cup filled.
We all need to feel valued.
The thing we forget is that giving is not truly giving with real intent if we view it as a transaction.
I don’t have to get my cup filled from him, it can come from many different places. I do love it when I get it from him – but I don’t need to expect it to come in the time and way I feel it should. It always means less when it is forced.
Loving and giving without any expectation of getting something back is the higher way of living.
Loving someone regardless of what they may do or not do for you is key.
Giving to someone with no requirements is a gift to develop.
When we become “I” focused, we lose our ability to serve, grow, view things optimistically, and truly love someone. Think for a minute…when you are frustrated or angry with someone – what is the real reason? It is something they have done to you, encroached upon you, or asked of you that you view as a sacrifice.
The good news is that this is easy to fix. Leave the “I” thought and think of the other person.
Easy words but hard to live by.
Here’s to your success ~
Dr. Jessica and Jeramy Belnap
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