Typically, when I start to read a marriage book, or take a marriage study at church, I am really super-excited about all the conversations Michael and I will have about our relationship and what we are doing right, and what we can improve on. I consider us to be a happy couple, we truly love one another and generally enjoy one another's company. So imagine my surprise when an online relationship inventory we took as part of our new study (which we are helping to lead, ironically) pointed out that the only strength (out of 20 categories) that we have as a couple is our shared spiritual belief system. Ouch. Ok, well, what now?
My initial response was to laugh. Then I got really depressed about the whole thing. Michael was rather amused by how hard I was taking it, which really did NOT help. I talked to another woman in our class, and was kind of secretly hoping their results had been like ours, but no. They scored above average in all 20 categories. So, what did I do? I cried, of course! I sat at my kitchen table with the corresponding marriage book, and tried to read the first few chapters in an attempt to rescue the doomed relationship that just yesterday seemed to be going ok... But the words were a little blurred by the tears pooling in my eyes, as I considered the overwhelming work ahead of us if we were to have any chance of "making it".
Michael heard the sniffling, and asked if my allergies were acting up. "Yes, honey. Allergies." I put the book down, went to the bathroom to compose myself so as not to alarm any small (or not-so-small) children.
I do realize that these profiles, these studies, are meant to be tools... But in a season of life that already feels completely overwhelming, I am just nervous to see the warning flags waving over the one part of life I thought was going pretty well. Because I feel I don't have the energy to even figure out where to start working on it. And I wonder (as I always do) if I can just be someone different... someone who occasionally gets it right...
That's where I am. I write this knowing full well that it is not encouraging, uplifting, or even funny... But I plan to write about this throughout our study. And maybe we'll get to the encouraging uplifting part eventually. Praying today for some perspective, and some supernatural help. And for something funny... Yes, I pray for that. I need to laugh like I need chocolate! Dreading Sunday morning, when I will have to share with the class that their leaders are, according to the relationship experts, miserable failures. Clinging to the promise that when we are weak, He shows Himself strong!
Curious to see how you score as a couple? Here is the website with the inventory and corresponding resources:
And, if you have a near-perfect score, please don't feel you have to share it with me. Please. :)