Give and Take

All of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility.

I Peter 5:5

Being married is a little like being on a teeter-totter. It’s no fun for one mate to be always up and the other down. No one can move if both partners insist on absolute equality. And if one partner jumps off, the other partner has no choice but to leave as well. In order to enjoy being on the teeter-totter, both partners must learn to give and take.

“You owe me and you’d better pay up.” John and Jennifer both used this phrase when they first came to therapy. Each seemed to carry a little scorebook in his or her head and to give themselves points for every “good deed.” They were constantly arguing about who had done more for the other. Their goal seemed to be to have complete equality and end up with the perfectly balanced teeter-totter. Instead, their teeter-totter was jolting up and down, with each of them being bumped as it hit the ground.

Can you imagine a couple so loving that they argue about how much they want to give to each other instead of how much they want to get from each other. As John and Jennifer’s marriage therapist, I was never able to persuade them to get that humble. But, after nine months of therapy, they had begun to develop a give and take marriage instead of the “take and take” marriage they had.

Thought: The more I give true love, the more likely I am to receive true love.


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