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Be Gentle to You

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There are many types of people in the world, all with different approaches to “getting stuff done”. My approach to doing stuff is different from my wife’s approach. (Who’da thunk?)

These two years of marriage have revealed much. One of these “revelations” was this: my sense of worth is closely tied to how well I think I’m accomplishing tasks and goals, across a broad spectrum. In some ways, this is good. I set goals, plan how to accomplish them, and even manage to compete a few percentage points of these goals.

The downsides were subtle, and two-fold:

1. Since my sense of worth is tied to accomplishments, I evaluate others in the same way #

Imagine being married to someone who only acts like they love (and like) you only if you’re industrious and productive. Yikes!

2. Since my sense of self-worth is tied to accomplishments, I feel guilt and shame when I fail to meet whatever standards I imagine for myself #

This cycle feeds itself, so I’ll either work harder, sort of like penance, or I’ll fall deeper into guilt and shame.

I said these downsides were subtle, because until about a year ago, I was blind to this thinking. This led to strife in my marriage, as Kristi would feel like I didn’t delight in her unless she was working on some side project. I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t delighting in her.

Pro tip: If your loved one says

I know you love me but it feels like you don’t like me

Don’t argue back. That brilliant rebuttle you have? When you say it, in an angry tone of voice, it’ll sound completely self-delusional:

You’re wrong! I really really LIKE YOU!!!!

Are you comfortable paying a mechanic for their services? I’d suggest you engage a counselor to help you with tricky “mechanical issues” in your marriage. Kristi and I have spent thousands of dollars on counseling, and it’s the best money we’ve ever spent, and it’s a bargain at 5x the price

Here’s where I would normally want to put next action steps for fixing these problems. The first step to dealing with this was realizing I couldn’t “self-help” my way out of it. The Gospel speaks to these issues in a far deeper way than anything else can.

In sum: I am deeply broken. So is Kristi. And we can rejoice in this truth.

My lovely wife. Two years in! (2014)

My lovely wife. Two years in! (2014)