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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Marriage Misteaks

Everyone makes mistakes. To err is human, to forgive, divine, you know.

But there's a difference between making a mistake once and learning from it, and making it again and again and making it a habit.

Unfortunately, a lot of what we do in marriage falls into this category. For example...

Mind Reading - We may be able to finish our mate's sentences. We may be able to predict what they'll do or say under certain circumstances.

But we can't read their minds or hearts. It's nice to know someone well enough to have the feeling of moving through the dance of life in unspoken rhythm, but we should never mistake this for understanding the basis of another unique soul.

We observe phenomena. We catalog stimuli and response. But what lies between the stimulus and the reaction, so to speak, is hidden. We may get some insights from what our mate says, but this is still being filtered through our own experience and basis of knowledge.

We can't read minds, and we shouldn't try...but most specifically we should never use this 'ability' to gain the upper hand in an argument.

"Oh, I know what you're going to say!" Sound familiar?

Mind reading can also be a problem in positive action - how many times have you given someone a gift that you were sure they'd like, only to receive a "Gee...uh, thanks..."?

Newly marrieds are particularly prone to this - they're so focused on what they see of their mate through the lens of their own desire that they'll overlay their mate's desires with their own. A new bride may find herself on a honeymoon cruise when she'd far prefer sleeping under the stars in Canyonlands National Park, but can't quite bear to break it to her husband that the particular assumption he made about what she'd like...was dead wrong.

The Apple Falls Close To The Tree - This is a common adage in many cultures, and it's used to describe the similarity between parents and children.

Not much fun for children, if the parents are a dead loss at the parenting game, but that's beside the point.

The real point is that when you use this paradigm in an argument, you're lashing your mate to a rock, to make it easier to hit them. Someone whose behavior is dictated and predicted by the familial past - and by past bad behavior of relatives - really has nowhere to go, and can only stand and take your attack.

It's easy to hit a sitting target, but not very sporting.

Like mind reading, you can also err on the positive side of this concept. Giving your mate the feeling that he or she has a family tradition to meet is an unfair burden, and one certainly added to the one received from the Practically Perfect Family.

Let your mate be an individual. If he or she wants to claim familial traits, fine. But never force them, and never use them as a stick.

You Don't Love Me Like You Used To - People change, and love changes. Fact of life. So, yes, this one's true...but you don't love your mate like you used to.

The past is the devil's mirror, because it reflects what we want to see, and hides what we want to avoid. Our marriage wasn't perfect, ever, but to hold up today in comparison to yesterday is inaccurate...and unfair.(Please note that I'm talking about healthy marriages without significant issues.)

It can't live up to the memory of something that was never fully real, and when we try to force it into that mold, we damage the marriage we have.

Drop the mirror. Let the past go...you won't lose anything, because God saves all the good bits of our lives for us, and puts them in safekeeping in His House.

Embrace the now, embrace the love you have. Maybe romance is fixing a fence together rather than a moonlight stroll on the beach. Can't see the romance in fixing a fence?

Try. Try looking at the person next to you, trusting you not to whack her hand with the hammer.

What other marriage mistakes have you seen? Add to our list!

This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information.


  1. One thing Hubs and I promised to do, and have succeeded for the most part, was to fight about the issue at hand, not the laundry list of pet peeves. THAT helps A LOT!!

    1. That makes a huge difference, right there. It keeps disagreements contained. Bravo!

  2. I used to be a master at "mind reading." At least I thought I was! Often it left my husband feeling judged, misunderstood and criticized, Andrew. Thanks for reminding us of these hurtful "misteaks." I bet that "steak" is one we'd really want to miss since it'sy tough and tasteless! :)

    Also, I plan to respond to your comment over at my place but it may be a while before I can get to it, Andrew. But I am grateful for your engagement on the subject I'm discussing!

    1. I have been guilty of mind reading...well, every day I've been married. It's one of the hardest things to put down, because one can feel so RIGHT!

      And yeah, you don't want to touch that particular steak. Good for sharpening knives, though.