Are You a Reactionary Spouse?
How do you handle your marriage or pre marriage problems? Are you simply reactionary or are you what I call a life-long learner?
The Negative Consequences of Being Reactionary
I have found that people that simply act out of their feelings end up sabotaging any type of success in their lives, especially when it comes to relationships. Here are a few consequences to simply reacting to problems in your marriage or pre marriage relationship rather than exhibiting the qualities of a lifelong learner:
You end up being controlled by circumstances
You end up becoming a slave to dysfunction
You continue to make the same mistakes over and over again
Both end up saying and doing things that they often regret
The man and the woman take a potentially great relationship and turn it into a poor relationship
All involved fail to grow up and act like adults
You perpetuate family cycles that have been in existence for years
Reactionary Spouses Make Little Progress
Men and women that are reactionary seldom see good results when trying to solve their marriage or pre marriage problems. As a matter of fact, couples in such a state are typically very difficult to counsel and coach as they tend to quickly throw out everything they have learned when disagreements arise.
On the other hand, people that are able to stop, set their emotions aside, and consider biblically based principles are the couples that are able to rise out of their relationship issues. These couples are easy to coach as they typically have a very teachable spirit.
What is a Life-long Learner?
A life-long learner is someone that bases their actions and reactions on biblically based principles. It is someone that seeks to not only learn more about God, life, and relationships, but they work hard at implementing what they have learned.
Here are a couple key characteristics of those that I would call life-long learners:
They look within before blaming without
The scriptures show us in Proverbs 1:5 that a “wise man will hear, and will increase learning”. In other words, those that will be wise do not look at the faults of others as much as their own mishaps.
The life-long learner will ask themselves questions like these after or during an altercation
How could I have avoided this problem? (Romans 12:18)
Is my own heart deceived into thinking that I am right and they are wrong? (Jeremiah 17:9)
Am I seeing the full picture? (Proverbs 16:2)
What can I do to resolve the issue? (I Peter 3:11)
How do I stay away from enflaming the issues through gossip? (Luke 17:3)
Proactive Versus Reactive
Life-long learners are proactive instead of reactive. That is, instead of simply reacting to situations as they come their way, they are careful to proactively learn and implement biblical principles so as to ward off many of the problems that the average couple has. Here are some ways that life-long learners show their proactive approach to life:
They read good books
You may not like to read, but to that I would say, “Get over it.” Turn off the television and make yourself enjoy reading.
Reading is better than college because you can pick the smartest and wisest people in the world and sit at their feet on a daily basis. Also, did I mention that it is far less expensive.
They filter situations through principles rather than their feelings
This is a huge point, and I believe it separates the men from the boys (literally). In other words, those that seem to excel at relationships appear to stop before they speak and consider biblical precepts and the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
Below are a few verses that show us that those that have wisdom have a filter of sorts over their mouths.
Proverbs 17:27 – “He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.”
Proverbs 29:11 – “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.”
They learn from their mistakes
After I coach a basketball game, preach a sermon, or counsel and individual, I always ask the question, “What could I have done better in that scenario?” If we do not have this attitude, then I find that we start to stagnate as Christians.
They keep their lives in perspective
Life is not about getting what you want, proving your point to your spouse, winning an argument, or ensuring that nobody gets one up on you. Simply put, life, marriage, and pre marriage relationships are about bringing glory to God and helping others to do the same. (I Corinthians 10:31)
People that stay calm and under control realize that at the end of their lives they will give an account for everything they have done. And, they live their lives in lieu of this sobering principle. In fact, let’s close this little article out by looking at a very sobering truth from the teachings of Christ:
Matthew 12:36-37 – “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”