Friday, May 31, 2013

The Thumper Rule (Lessons I've Learned From My Marriage)

In honor of our Ten Year Anniversary next month, I'm writing out lessons I've learned from being married to my man. 

I don't think I'm an expert on anything really (except maybe how to nurse a baby while chasing a two year old and never even breaking the baby's latch), but I do think that Derek and I have something pretty great. While much of our relationship is due to just being extremely compatible, our life is not perfect, we are not perfect, and I've had to learn some pretty hard lessons in my ten years thus far as a wife. 

I learned today's lesson when Derek and I were engaged, and continue to relearn it all the time. 

As a kid we had what was called "The Thumper Rule" which if you've ever seen Bambi, you know is simply: 
"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." 

As kids we pretty shamelessly violated this rule, something that frustrated my father endlessly. 

And it is just about the best piece of marriage advice there is. 

If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

Chances are, that rude thing I think about saying about the way my spouse puts dishes in the dishwasher is unnecessary.

 The dishes are getting done, right? 

For a scriptural reference: 

Proverbs 15:1 says, "A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger" (KJV) 

In my life, the wrath I'm turning away does not apply to Derek. (Derek like NEVER gets mad at me.) The wrath is my own. If I'm inclined to snap, or be rude, forcing myself to use soft, kind words, even if I DON'T feel like it, makes a world of difference in what I am feeling. It literally changes my heart.

And what if your spouse is being a poo?

The scripture still applies. It can be incredibly difficult to remain calm and kind when your partner is NOT extending you the same courtesy.

When we practice the art of speaking kindly, of being more gentle with our words, those we love will notice. And they will be more inclined to do this as well.

I guess I have learned that if I want to be around Derek for pretty much EVER, then I need to show him that in the way I talk to him. Years ago, when were were engaged, Derek asked me "Are you going to be a wife who yells?"

I can't even remember what had been happening prior to that question, but I remember saying, "No! Of course not!" and so, ten years later, I'm trying to live up to that agreement.

There is a pretty popular Aristole quote going around that says, 

"Be kind for everyone is fighting a harder battle." 

I know my spouse's battle. I know he needs kindness and a soft answer.

We all do!


david hagey said...

Well said Morgan. Good for everyone to apply in their lives.

Meredith said...

Well, this is a hard one for me. I struggle with having the "soft answer" all the time. Because as you know...marriage is hard work. My husband is the greatest man in the world, but I frequently get caught up in my own head and snap at him because I don't know how to vent that frustration otherwise. But, it's so true. If you can learn to have the soft answer, your spouse really appreciates it. And, my husband hardly ever snaps!! -Meredith

Erika Loveland said...

My husband never gets mad either! It's hard to be the one that loses it more often. But, I agree, practice works. I've been practicing taking a moment to be kinder to everyone and, w/a lot of prayer, I feel a change and it does rub off on others.


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