Tag Archives: Failure

How not to treat your wife

If this title scares you, don’t worry; this will not be a rant against my husband.  Even if I did have that sort of anger boiling up within me, this would not be the appropriate place for that discussion.

Besides, my husband could teach a lot of guys a thing or two about building a strong relationship.  I look around at other couples and think, Wow, I am so lucky!

After following The Amazing Race’s most recent season, I’ve collected some pointers for any single guy looking to get married in the near future.  Inspired by Travis, the hotshot E.R. doctor, these tips are absolutely meant to be taken seriously.

Number One: Do not get involved with your subordinate.  Nicole and Travis met when she was doing her residency under his leadership.  They apparently have never escaped that teacher-student dynamic.  She continues to see him as her superior in every way, not only in their medical careers.  This creates a ton of problems for their relationship.  During several legs of the race, she cowered under his domineering personality. If you cannot treat your partner as your equal, then perhaps you should reconsider the wisdom of the relationship.

Number Two: Do not delude yourself into believing that you are always right.  This reverts back to #1.  Yes, there are probably areas in which you will excel.  However, there are also areas in which your wife will excel.  She might even (gasp) be better than you in some areas!  For a successful relationship and marriage, it is essential that you recognize your own fallibility.  The season finale was incredibly irritating because Travis could not admit, even for a second, that occasionally he might not be perfect.  Everything that went wrong for them was her fault.

Number three: Do not verbally or emotionally abuse your wife.  Travis criticized his wife and harped so relentlessly on her shortcomings that she only became more agitated, therefore making more mistakes.  You know what, buddy?  It’s okay to get frustrated when things aren’t going your way, but it’s not okay to assume you absolutely could have done any better on a task than your wife.

Many variables can affect the outcome of each leg of the race.  Who knows?  Perhaps it was your negative attitude and not-so-subtle disparagement of your wife that actually lost you the race.  Maybe if you had tried being supportive of Nicole while she was struggling, rather than making her feel worse about it, she might have remained calmer and finished her tasks more quickly.

Single guys, look at how the winning team played: they were kind and generous to one another and even to all the other teams.  They supported one another and praised each other’s strengths rather than criticizing their weaknesses.  Nice guys don’t always finish first, but they did this time around.  By avoiding the mistakes Travis made, you could gain a wonderful, amazing marriage.

That’s worth so much more than a first-place finish in The Amazing Race.  Yep, I’d even say it’s worth much more than a million-dollar prize.

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Part 2: Will I be missed?

I assume it’s natural for just about all of us to ponder our place in the world from time to time…our place in our families, our circles of friends, our workplaces, our schools, our places of worship. When I posted about my desire to be missed if and when I leave my church, this was not to say that I have no friends in my church or that you should pity me.  It was about pinpointing the kind of person I want to be now, in my church.  Being missed would indicate that my presence had value, that was really here. It would indicate that I was here for a reason.

This often crosses over into other areas of my life, particularly at work.  Surely we all (a la George Bailey) have had that thought cross our minds, that questioning of what things would be like without us.  It’s the way we evaluate ourselves, the way we gauge our success or failure in any given venture.

I wondered about it long before I finally quit coaching cross-country.  Who would take over the job after me?  How much better would the team perform with someone else coaching them?  What would the kids, parents, staff, other coaches say about me once I was gone?  I wondered about Student Council and what would happen if I weren’t involved.  How would Homecoming go without my expertise?  What would the kids think of the new advisor? I wondered how my substitute teacher during maternity leave would be.  I was torn between hoping for an incredible sub so my students wouldn’t suffer and hoping for someone terrible so my students would be glad to see me return.  (Fortunately, I ended up getting the best of both worlds–students said they loved their sub, but they really missed me.)

Here’s the odd thing: the more I thought of how I might be perceived and remembered, the more motivated I became to do better.  Not due to some innate drive to be successful, but due to fear.  Fear of potential negative impressions made.  Fear of potential ridicule by others. Fear that when I eventually would resign from coaching, the overall feeling of everyone affected would be…relief. Oh my gosh, what could be worse than sensing that once you had left your position, people were going to cheer?  They’re not cheering for a job well done; they’re cheering because the terrible, lazy, talentless, uncaring, stupid, selfish person who was ruining the whole organization was finally gone.  Yes, I realize this is a pretty bleak way to view oneself.  Extreme.  Sometimes self-talk can be that way.

Let’s be honest.  In all likelihood, most of the jobs/groups/organizations I am a part of will continue just fine without me, and have already done so.  My school still has a cross-country team, but I am not the coach.  Homecoming and all the other Student Council events still take place, although I’m not in charge anymore.  I don’t need to think any more or less of myself than I am.  Somebody will take over my roles; the world will keep on turning.  Some things will be better without my presence, and some won’t.  Maybe my absence won’t have much of an impact at all.  Maybe, though, there will be a few who will say when I’m gone, I really miss her.  Maybe someone will have been changed for the better, because of me.  I guess I can only hope that like George Bailey on Christmas Eve, I’ll one day get to see something good that has come from my life.  Maybe a lot of  somethings.  It may not be in this life, but maybe God will one day show me, show all of us, how He chose to use us to accomplish His plans on earth.

So I have to accept that I have limitations.  I probably can’t actually be best friends with everyone in my church, much as I would love to (it is an incredible group of people!).  I’ll spend what time I can with whomever I can, getting to know them, playing with their kids, praying when they’re hurting, listening when they just need to vent.  I’ll accept it when  I can’t make it to community group because my baby is crying or I’m too tired from the work week or we need to visit family members out of state.  I’ll do my part to be there for my church, but try to remember that not all of it is up to me.  That’s where the concept of “the body” of Christ is so key.

If I can channel the fear of not being missed into positive actions, I will.  I can’t help sometimes thinking about the future and what people will say about me.  I’ll use this to help me become more connected in my church.  I’ll use it when making lesson plans and helping students.  I’ll use it constantly in years to come as I raise my son.  This fear can be healthy, if I let it teach me how to live more fully in the moment.