She Kicks Me Out From Time to Time

Shelley kicks me out from time to time.

She will look me in the eye, like she did about 10 minutes ago, and says, “I don’t know where you can go but you need get away. You need to go spend the night somewhere.” She said that, not because she is mad or we are in a fight. Not because she is sick of me or needs a break.

She kicks me out because she knows that about once a year I need it for my own good. She knows what I need to refuel and she helps make it happen.

This is one of the ways we have learned to embrace each others differences for the others good. The fact that Shelley is an extrovert and I am an introvert matter deeply to our understanding of how to love each other well. (See We Are Different)

Early in our marriage, Shelley figured out that I needed alone time every now and then to think and refuel. By “alone time” I mean either an entire day or couple of days away from everything and everyone. She figured this out about me because I told her. I’m not sure that she understood it at first since we are so different, but she sacrificed to understand it.

I work in an extrovert’s world as a pastor. There is tons of output. There is a lot of time spent around people and I love it! But, the longer I am around people the more I am drained. The more I am drained, the more challenging it becomes for me to love people well, including my family.

For me to love well and to be emotionally healthy, Shelley has learned that I need to intentionally refuel. We are very different, so she has had to work to learn what I need and embrace it for my good. The same is true for me. I have had to learn and adjust to what she needs.

She helps me refuel in two basic ways.

1. The Little Fuel
Reality for most people, like us, is that every time we need to refuel, we can’t drop life and get out of town. But we can learn the little things along the way that help refuel our spouse.

Here is what Shelley knows about me.

  • I Need Expected Little Fuel – For me that is exercise. I need 3-4 days a week to get out and run or ride my bike. I get the benefit of being healthier but the main thing it does for me is help my mind process whatever needs processing. It is a stress release and Shelley understands that. She has never once complained to me about my need to get out run. She knows I need it.
  • I Need Unexpected Little Fuel – Sometimes Shelley just knows I need what we call a “pick-me-up”. It is usually something very simple. Just the other day Shelley noticed that I was tired and needed a “pick-me-up.” Without me knowing, she took the initiative to get me some “unexpected fuel.” She said, “I bought you a little surprise today.” I little while later she handed me a candy bar. Silly? Maybe. But it was a simple, unexpected fuel to lift me up a little.

2. The Big Fuel
Big fuel happens for me about once a year. It is the “you need to go spend the night away by yourself” moments. Not everyone needs or is able to do this. There have been times when spending a night a way has not been practical. One those occasions, I just take a day and go somewhere where I can think, pray, and rest.

There are those times when it has worked out for me to get away for night alone. The key is that Shelley knows that I need it and she encourages me to go. It is something I don’t take for granted.

Helping each other refuel can look many different ways in all marriages but I think these thoughts are important.

1) Learn what refuels your spouse and sacrifice to make it happen.

For me to get way requires a sacrifice on Shelley’s part. If you and your spouse are different, like Shelley and I, part of the sacrifice is simply embracing the differences and adjusting to them.

2) Be honest with your spouse about what refuels you.

I don’t like guessing games in any part of marriage. If you want your spouse to understand what you need along the way, don’t expect them to figure it out. In a gracious, non-demanding way tell them.

We all know that being refueled helps the health of your marriage. So help each other.

Be like Shelley. Kick each other out from time to time.

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I am a Dad: How My Son From Africa Exposed My Ugliness

About 4 years ago I would have never considered myself to be racist in any way. By that I mean, I would not have thought of myself as someone who thinks he is more valuable than someone because of a difference in race. I wouldn’t refer to people of a different color or ethnicity in derogatory ways. I wouldn’t knowingly treat people different than me in a devaluing way. I have had roommates in college, close friends and coworkers who are from multiple ethnic groups.

Then something happened. We began to the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia, Africa. We were about to become a multi-racial family.

Father and son.

Father and son.

As I looked towards the future of having a black son, I became extremely sensitive to race issues. Anything I heard that was remotely racist would bother me and at times make me angry.

It was as though my antennas went up and I started becoming more aware and sensitive to other people saying things like,

  • “We had some black neighbors once and they were really nice.” As if it would be expected for black neighbors not to be nice.
  • “We take our car to get worked on by Mr. Smith, the black man at the shop and he does good work”. I have never heard a white person say, “I get my car worked on by Mr. Smith, the white man at the shop, and he does good work.”
  • “Well you know, there are blacks and then there n—–. There is a difference you know.”  Then to hear them try justify their statement with, “Well, there’s white people and white trash”, as though either of those judgements are “ok”.

There were even things said about us and our new son that were blatantly hateful. All of those stereotypes and judgments began to bother me more than ever.

But, me a racist? Never. Right? After all I was about to bring a black child into my family.

Then something began to happen that I did not expect. At some point in our journey, as I was getting more bothered by what others would say or do, I began to realize my own ugliness. I was a great example of Matthew 7:3, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye.”

I began to see my “plank”.

Again, it was not flagrant racism, but subtle, elusive, deeply ingrained racism. The kind that would look at someone of another race with slightly different eyes. The kind that would refer to someone of another race as “them”. The kind that would believe, just a little, that I was better. The kind of racism that wouldn’t fully trust some people, simply because of their skin color.

It was sickening to me. I realized that I was racist. I did not like it and knew that my heart needed to change.

I have wondered if this below the surface racism is more dangerous than overt racism because it is harder to recognize in ourselves. Since it is harder to recognize it may never be dealt with. If it is never dealt with then we allow it to effect the way we relate to others not like us our entire lives.

It is sad that it has taken such a dramatic life event for me to see this part about myself but I am thankful that I have seen it. Once I began to see it, I began to ask God to forgive me and change my heart. I began to ask Him to give me a greater love and respect for ALL people. I began to ask God to give me a greater understanding of what life will be like as my son, Andy, grows up.

These are a few of the thoughts I am having on this journey. I don’t even know if they are “right thoughts” but they are helping me move forward in honesty and truth.

1) Racism runs much deeper in us than we imagine so we need to dig deep to find it and get it out.

I assume that there is more in my heart in regards to race that still needs to change. We are all impacted so much by our culture and heritage that we are almost blind to it. Our thoughts and perspectives on people and life are deeply ingrained in us. Whether they are good things or bad things like racism, they are in our hearts and we need to see them. The prophet Jeremiah says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?”  I need the Spirit of God to continue to change my heart towards all types of people. I don’t want Him to stop working in me until He is finished.

2) The goal is not to just change how I think but to help change the future for my son and others.

I know that my heart is a work in progress but so is our culture when it comes to race. Though I honestly haven’t figured out my role yet, I want to do what I can fight for my son’s future. The more I think about the fight, the more it overwhelms me. But, it is not just a good fight, it is the right fight. I was reminded last week as my family watched videos of Dr. Martin Luther king Jr.’s speeches, we need to fight for what matters. And what matters is people of every color being treated for who they are, individuals individuals made in the image of God.

When my son, Andy, is a grown man, I long for the world to be better for him. This may seem self-centered, but I also want Andy and my other kids to know that their dad was in the fight.

3) Skin color does matter but not for the sake of determining someone’s value.

I understand the statement people make, “I don’t see skin color”. I think what they are saying is they don’t see skin color as a determiner of a person’s value, which is good. But, when I look at Andy, I do see skin color. He is brown from head to toe. That is how God made him and it matters. His color reminds me of his heritage. It reminds of how he will be treated differently in our systems than my other children.

If I ignore Andy’s color then I may never see the different struggles he will walk through in life. For me to be the best dad that I can be for Andy, I want to honor who he is, color and all.

I am a dad, and hopefully a less racist dad now than ever.

Cheese

Cheese

Listen and Be Near

There is great power in the simple, everyday acts of love.

I had a heavy feeling day this week. It was a combination of things that made it that way. That is just how some days are because that is how life can be.

When I got home that afternoon I brought the heaviness with me. I wasn’t depressed or mad or really even worn out. I was just heavy and introspective about a few things. With the way I am wired, it could be easy for a day like that to have a negative impact on life at home with Shelley and the kids. I know it has at times.

This particular day was one of those times when there was nothing that Shelley could practically do to “fix” the situation. The truth is that I am still heavy feeling today.

So as I brought “heavy me” home (I guess I could be Heavy D since my name starts with a D), wanting a little comfort and escape, I found one. It was very simple.

I walked into the kitchen, sat at the table and said, “I am feeling heavy. But, it is hard to explain”. Then, while we were hanging out in the kitchen, I did my best to unpack my feelings to her. I just talked. She stopped what she was doing, leaned against the counter and simply listened. Then she said something so good and simple to me that says so much about her.

“I am listening to everything you’re saying. And I know there is nothing I can really do. But I am listening.”

Shelley is a great place of comfort and encouragement. (See My Biggest Fan)

Listening and being near are powerful. Anyone who has truly been listened to can tell you how much it has meant to them. They will tell you that in those moments they have felt loved and valued. I believe that is especially true in marriage.

When I was done unloading my heavy day, Shelley went back to cleaning the kitchen and I just sat there feeling a little lighter. It was simply because she stayed close and listened.

When she started to leave the room, I said, “I hope you don’t mind, but I am going to follow you around. It makes me feel better.” So I followed her like needy puppy…I mean a big strong manly man.

That may sound corny or wimpy but I am “ok” with that. One of the most beautiful aspects of a healthy marriage is being able to find comfort in just being close to your spouse and listened to by them.

Being near and listening can be hard. It is much easier to try to be a “fixer” with a solution to everything. Sometimes we can have such a “fixer” mentality that we underestimate the simplicity of listening and being near.

We want the easy fix answer instead of doing the hard work of listening.

As a guy, I am more naturally the “fixer” so it has taken me longer to learn this lesson. I am so thick headed that sometimes I just come out and ask Shelley, “Is this one of those times when I don’t need to say anything?”

Shelley knows my thick headedness so well that sometimes she starts the conversation by saying, “I don’t need you to say anything. Just listen to me.”

We haven’t always been very good at this part of our marriage. I remember years ago when she was trying to tell me something and I was not very focused on her. She grabbed me by the face and said, “Look at me and listen to me!” Ouch!

Shelley has taught me a lot about listening and being near and I know there is much more to learn. Maybe the most important thing that I have learned is that I need to lead the way. If I am not a person who models that for Shelley, then how can I expect her to be that person for me? I don’t have the right to demand that she listen when I am not willing to do the same.

Here is what learning to listen and being near is doing for the Hunts.

1) We are becoming a greater place of comfort and rest for one another.
2) We are becoming more honest about our own weaknesses.
3) We are growing in our understanding of one another.
4) We are learning to have a more genuine focus on the needs of the other.

I am reminded of Matthew 11:28 when Jesus said, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened I will give you rest.”  I don’t think there is a better place to pursue to live that out than in marriage.

I Am the Dad: How NOT to Teach a Life Lesson to Your Kids

As parents, we have moments when we think we are going to be geniuses and teachers of great life lessons to our kids. This was kind of one of those moments. Well, it was actually me being a softy and calling it “teaching a great life lesson.”

Let me make a couple of disclaimers before you read any further.

1) There is no big point to this blog entry even though the title might lead you to think so.
2) We spank our kids. We have never spanked them much but we have spanked them. That may turn some of you off to this story.

When Emily was younger, she went through a stretch where she lied a lot. She would lie about all kinds of stuff, big and small. Some of the lies were the classic, “If I lie about this I won’t get in trouble for what I have done” lies. There would be other times when we could not figure for the life of us why she would lie.

It became such an issue that we came up with a rule. “If you tell a lie, you always get a spanking”. It was a guarantee. It was pretty much the only thing that we spanked her for and our spankings were not intense.

So, she would lie. We would spank.

When we proved faithful to our promise, she started learning. But, she is not perfect and would still slip into her 4 year old deceitful ways from time to time.

It got to the point with her that if she was caught in a lie, she would start crying before the spanking even happened. This made it tough for me.

Now, it is important to know that I am a softy. I may give off a rough and tough exterior but the truth is that I am a 90lb weakling on the inside when it comes to my kids.

So, a day comes, and Emily tells a lie and she gets caught. You tell a lie. You get a spanking. It is the rule.

It just so happened that I was extra soft that day and really had no desire to give a spanking. But, a rule is a rule. When there is a lie, there is a spanking.

As we walked to her room she immediately began to cry over the spanking that was about to come her way. I started to cave. I couldn’t do it.

I needed an “out”.

ENTER BRILLIANT “TEACHING A GREAT LIFE LESSON” IDEA! I think to myself, “I am a going to teach Emily about the love of God and the sacrifice of Christ.” In the Bible it is the rule, when a sin is committed there must be a payment. And the ultimate payment was God coming in the flesh as Jesus and taking the punishment we deserve on the cross. It was a once and for all payment.

It was and is the ultimate act of love and I was about to give the perfect image of this love to my daughter.

I carefully explained the fall of man and how it separated us from God. I explained the need of a payment to restore our relationship with Him. I told the story of Jesus, and His death on the cross. I explained that He was punished when we should have been.

Then, with great drama, I said, “It is like when you lie. There has to be a spanking. You deserve a spanking and a spanking will be given.”

“Emily. What I am about to do is because I love you. I am going to take the spanking for you”.

Then I reached over and picked a toy frying pan (which I would have NEVER spanked her with) and began to smack myself on the leg as hard as I could. Several times. Over and over.

Just like you are thinking right now, Emily was looking at me like I was CRAZY!

Was she thinking about Jesus? I am pretty sure she wasn’t.

When I was done beating my leg, leaving a big red mark on it, I asked her how that made her feel. She looks at me with a big grin and says, “I’m not getting a spanking?”

She came bouncing out of the room laughing and smiling, “Mommy! I didn’t get a spanking! Daddy spanked himself with my frying pan!”

Shelley, “He did what?”

Emily, “Daddy gave himself a spanking and I didn’t get one!”

Me, “Emily, why did I do that?”

Emily, “I have no idea.”

Lesson – You can’t teach your kid about God’s love by hitting yourself with a frying pan.

I am the dad.

Our First Fight in Marriage was About a Sandwich

Like every couple we have had a disagreement or two. We don’t yell at each other or slam doors. I have never been kicked out of the bedroom to sleep on the couch. But, we have had our moments.

Every couple will “fight”. I am convinced that if there is never a disagreement that causes a little work then the couple is probably not being fully honest with each other.

Since fighting is inevitable, learning to fight well is important.

We were probably in our first month of marriage when our first “fight” happened. I don’t remember exactly what lit the fuse or even what the ultimate issue was but I know it had to do with a sandwich. Yep. That’s right. A sandwich. It was Shelley’s sandwich. I think I was trying to make lunch for us and she didn’t want a sandwich.

I know what you are thinking, “are you being serious?” I am.

There was obviously something else going on because no one acts like she was acting over lunch meat.

I remember walking into our room and there was Shelley demanding to NOT have a sandwich. It was CRAZY and strange.

I had no clue what was going on but she was making me mad. I was confused. It was such a bizarre moment that I could not get my mind around so I snapped. I turned to walk out of the room and punched the door as hard as I could. “I’ll show you a sandwich!” Punching doors doesn’t really accomplish much other than a hurt hand and a door that now needs repairing.

I went to the kitchen. Sat down and ate my sandwich alone.

A few moments later I walked back to our room to find Shelley sitting in the closet floor crying…over a sandwich and a wall punching husband.

Within minutes of talking it out and realizing that sandwiches are not really that important, we were laughing.

It is amazing the wide variety of things that can and will cause conflict in marriage. Hopefully as the years go by we will fight over fewer things but also more important things.

There are many great things that have been said about how to handle conflict in marriage but here are some of the big things I am learning.

1) We need to be “OK” with having conflict. It is normal. To act like conflict will not happen in marriage is fooling ourselves. The reality of life is that we can be selfish and marriage can bring out the most selfish parts of us. We are also just different people. We think differently, have different personalities, different expectations and even different values. (See She likes Her Coffee With Cream)

If we can be “ok” with having good conflict then we can have a marriage that is always getting better. We would hate to admit this, but all of us need to be confronted from time to time about things in our lives. We are imperfect and our spouse can play a huge part in helping us grow even if it means a little conflict.

2) We need to know how we fight when we are at our worst. There is fighting at your best, which is the kind of fighting that is trying to arrive at resolution. Then there is fighting at your worst, which is fighting for victory. It is important to understand how you think and act when you are at your worst so that you can do everything possible to avoid it.

When I am fighting to win, I know that I have the ability to calmly and coldly say just the right thing that will hurt Shelley deeply. I also know that I have the ability to say things in such a way that it makes it impossible for her to win. It is ugly. I don’t like it. It does no good. I want to avoid that kind of fighting.

3) We need to know how to have a healthy first response. When emotions are flying or we are caught off guard at the beginning of a conflict, it is easy for one of us to respond badly. This can be really difficult depending on your personality but is important in having a “good” fight. The wrong first response can send you down the wrong path fast and create more unnecessary conflict.

If Shelley confronts me with something, I know that I need to give her some kind of response to let her know that I hear what she is saying. But, I also know that I need to be slow and careful with my words so that I don’t say things I will regret.

4) When she starts to cry I need to shut up. I believe that it is my responsibility to lead Shelley as the forgiver and as the one who asks for forgiveness. Whichever one of those applies to moment, I need to make the first move.

When she shuts down or starts to cry then I know I have pushed too far. It is at that point that I need stop and ask for forgiveness.

I don’t want this to sound like we have figured it out and that every conflict is a magical moment. It is not. Neither of us are big fans of conflict so we will have times where we try to ignore it or deal with it in an unhealthy way. We are not perfect.

Hopefully our fights are over more important things than sandwiches. And, for the record, she did end up eating a sandwich for lunch that day.

I Never Want to Take for Granted the Trust Shelley Gives Me as a Decision Maker

Some major life decisions as a couple are easy. Some are hard. Both are best when you pursue to operate as “one”.

Here are two stories from our married life.

One started in 2001, two years before we moved to Boston. I had taken a group of college students from Little Rock, AR. to Boston, MA. When that trip was over I believed that Shelley and I would move there at some point. It was very clear to me.

The “problem” was I also knew that moving to Boston was nowhere on Shelley’s radar. There were other things going on in life that made it clear that she would immediately say “no” to the idea. But, I also knew that she trusted me so much that if I pressed the issue she would eventually say “yes.”

I had to decide what I was going to do. Press the issue or do nothing?

I decided to say nothing to Shelley about moving to Boston. I did not want to talk her into such a huge life change when it was not really what she wanted. Even though she trusted me, I did not want to take advantage of that trust. I wanted to honor her trust.

Doing nothing was especially difficult because I had no idea when the timing would be right to move forward. For all I knew, she would never be up for such a move.

I just knew that I need to trust the process of waiting.

A year later I took another group of students to Boston. This time Shelley was on the trip. We had been there about 2 days when she approached me saying, “We need to talk.” She pulled me aside and said something like, “I know this may sound crazy but I think we are supposed to move here.”

A year later we were living in Boston.

To be honest, I was not wise enough to know that such a profound moment was going to happen. It was God who brought that together, not my skills as a husband.

But I know now, that one of the best ways to decide the biggest things is by waiting.

Here is one of the many things this particular decision taught me.

Oneness trusts the timing of God in the other person. Just because God is not working in your spouse in the same way that He is working in you doesn’t mean the decision is over. It doesn’t mean that there is a problem. It may just mean you need to patient in the process. We are still individuals and oneness is displayed when we humbly wait and trust in the work of God in our spouse.

Obviously not every big life decision happens like this one. Actually most of them don’t.

There are many decisions that we have made that were just as life changing but were hard and took a lot of work.

This past fall we made a major decision in regards to our kid’s education. It was hard. We had recently moved to Fort Smith, causing Emily and James to change elementary schools. We knew that the transition would be hard on them.

As the weeks went by, things at school got worse for them, causing a great deal of confusion and frustration. They were struggling which meant that the entire family was struggling.

We could have easily attributed all of it to the move but we felt like we needed to look at it from another angle.

We began discussing the possibility that public schools was not right for them at this time. We began considering the possibility of homeschool.

As we started to talking about homeschool, we did not have an “ah ha” moment where everything was clear. We knew that people would question the decision. We knew that it would change the family dynamic. We knew that it would be hard. We knew that it would be a risk.

I was never against the idea but I was the one who was most fearful.

One of the biggest fears for me in the decision was the possibility that I would end up teaching my kids that “if life gets tough you can just quit.” I did not want them thinking that.

Another fear was the daily toll it would take on Shelley. Since she would bear the daily weight of homeschool, she would have very little time to herself. I did not want that for her.

I was fearful but I did not want fear to decide. I wanted to listen and trust Shelley.

Regardless of what we were going to decide, we had to wrestle through all of these unknowns. And, at the end of the day, we had to decide.

We chose to move Emily and James into homeschool and it has been one of the best life changing decisions we have made.

Here are a couple of things this decision taught me.

Oneness trusts the decision making ability in the other person. We don’t demand trust from the other but give trust to the other. There have been moments in our marriage when Shelley has said, “I trust you in this decision. I will do whatever you think we need to do.” There have been times when I have had to lean on Shelley and her decision making. The decision and ability to trust can be such a beautiful part of marriage.

Oneness fights for unity not victory in decision making. When both of us aren’t on the same page at the beginning of the decision making process, the goal is not win the other over through arguing. The goal is to come as close as possible to the same conclusion. It takes listening. It takes being teachable. It takes humility. It also takes time, but is worth it.

I never want to take for granted the trust Shelley gives me as a decision maker.

Make decisions as ONE.

She likes her coffee with cream. I like my coffee black: We Are Different

Shelley and I are different. Very different. But she has never asked me not to be me.

I have more hobbies than I have time for. She hates even being asked what her hobbies are.

I am a morning person. She is a night person.

She likes her coffee with cream. I like my coffee black.

Her first major concert to attend was New Kids on the Block. Mine, well it doesn’t matter, because it wasn’t New Kids on the Block.

I am spontaneous. She needs a couple of weeks’ notice that we are going to be spontaneous.

All the clothes in her drawers are nicely folded and have a place. Mine are “strategically” placed in a non-folded random way in whatever drawer I can cram them into.

I am an introverted, idealist, future thinker. I think a lot. It is not unusual for me to spend time in deep thought, thinking about things that I want to think about. Sounds productive, I know.

Shelley is an extroverted, realistic, practical doer. She loves lists. She makes lists. She accomplishes what is on her lists. She has made lists of lists. She does get stuff done.

We are different. On paper, it seems like this marriage shouldn’t work but it does.

I would be lying if I said some of our differences didn’t cause a few challenges along the way.

The challenges aren’t necessarily big life altering moments. They come more in the day-to-day of normal life. If we aren’t careful we can let those little things become bigger than they should.

Here is one example of how our different brains have shown themselves. There has been more than one time where we have had a conversation like this;

DougWe need to take a trip for a couple of days. Just the two of us. It would be so good to get away. I’m going to make it happen.
ShelleyWho’s staying with the kids? (We have never lived closer than two hours from family so this is always a question)
DougI don’t know. We’ll figure it out.
ShelleyWell, we need to find a babysitter first.
Doug – Walk away frustrated…..

It may not seem like a big deal but if we are not careful, those can be frustrating moments.

What is happening is that we are thinking about the trip from two different angles. I commit to the idea (in my idealistic way) and assume we’ll figure out the survival of our children later. She commits to getting some important details in place first. When those are covered, she is all in for the trip.

I used to get fairly frustrated in those conversations. The important thing that I have learned is that neither angle is wrong nor right. They are just different and both just as important.

What is not good is when either of us allow selfish frustration to lead us in those moments. The selfish me can think things like, “This time away together isn’t as important to you as it is to me.” “You should be jumping at this idea. I don’t get it.”

When she lets selfishness lead her thinking she can have thoughts like, “He is being irresponsible and not thinking this thing through. He needs to slow down. He doesn’t get it.”

When selfishness leads either of us, frustration is inevitable.

Our differences are still teaching me how to hopefully love and lead Shelley better. Here are a couple of things I am learning.

1) It is not fair for me to expect my wife to change how she thinks just to make it easier for me. My job is not to make Shelley more like me. I need her to be different than me. I need her to ask different questions than I ask. I need her to give a different kind of input. I need her to help me think about things more fully.

In marriage, we need to learn more about our differences, embrace them, value them, and understand they are part of what God desires for us. When we do that, our differences can work together in an amazing way.

2) Most of the things that frustrate us are really not worth being frustrated about. This may seem obvious, but, as a married couple we are not each other’s enemy. I am not against Shelley and she is not against me. We are for each other but we are different.

To put it very simply, I need to get over myself more and listen to my wife. If we could step out of the frustrating moment and listen to ourselves, I am fairly confident that we would see that most of our frustrations are not that big of a deal. Most of them are not worth getting worked up about.

As the husband, I believe it is my calling to lead the way in selflessness. (See, Spiritually Leading My Wife) I don’t need to be thinking or communicating to her that she needs to quit being selfish. I need to first, own my own selfishness. Just because she thinks different doesn’t mean she is against me or what I am thinking. Her thoughts and ideas are good and make us better.

I am thankful she has never asked me not to be me. I don’t want to take that for granted or ask her not to be her.