Is Not Fair!
-- Throughout our twenty years of marriage, Chuck and I have faced
many tough times. I have had to make many changes and sacrifices to keep
our marriage together. As we have been through the "deep, dark valleys,"
I have often been the one who has had to give in and change.
Many times I have cried out to God, "It's not fair! I am working harder
and having to make all the changes." I could rightfully build a case,
getting all my girlfriends to agree that I am doing more and that it is
not fair. But why? What would I achieve by doing so?
time I have found myself mentally stomping my foot, claiming that "it
is not fair," I have been miserable. Yet when I am willing to step back
and allow the Holy Spirit to make what my husband, the therapist, would
call a "cognitive restructuring," and I take the focus off myself and
truly love Chuck extravagantly -- thinking of what is best for him and
for our marriage, not what is best for me--my misery lifts. I find myself
looking back and wondering, "what was I so unhappy about?" It is amazing
how God's plan really does work! I have made Ephesians 5:1 & 2, from The
Message, my marriage mission statement: "Observe how Christ loved
us. His love is not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order
to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love
As two of my friends and I have gotten together over the last year-and-a-half
to pray for our husbands in what we call the Praying Wives Club, we have
seen amazing changes in both our attitudes and the circumstances. While
the results have been nothing short of miraculous, each of us still faces
struggles. None of the changes came overnight. However, they started with
our individual willingness to want the best for our marriages, regardless
of the cost on our part.
I have learned "it is not fair" is not found in the Bible anywhere; God
doesn't promise that life will be fair. That is not God's model. While
often things are "not fair," clinging to that only brings grief. The world's
model tells us to look out for "number one," that we should be happy --
and if we are not, we should leave. As a result there are a lot of very
unhappy people out there. God's plan is just the opposite. His approach
doesn't make sense to a logical mind. Humm...do what will make the other
person happy, and I will be happier? But, I know from experience it does
I am so grateful that I hung in during the tough times, that I was willing
to make the changes that were needed. Today, Chuck and I have an amazing
relationship; one I did not know was possible for anyone, let alone us.
All the investment was SO worth it.
Over the years, many people have seen me love Chuck extravagantly; they
have seen me do more than my part. Often my friends have commented on
my extra efforts, some even critically. It did not appear that he reciprocated.
And for a long time, he didn't. He was never mean or abusive; he was struggling
with his own issues. Yet, ultimately by watching my example, he has learned
the principle for his own life as well.
Is your marriage is in a tough place? Are you contributing more to the
marriage than your spouse is? Do you find yourself crying out, "Its not
fair?" Stop! Every time you hear those words in your head, let them be
like a red flag to you that you have taken your focus off of God's will
and have bought into the world's model -- placing yourself and your needs
ahead of what is best for your spouse and your marriage.* Stop and pray
for the Holy Spirit to change your attitude, to help you love your spouse
extravagantly, not to get, but to give. You will find that just this initial
conscious effort will bring almost immediate rewards. It doesn't promise
that your spouse will change, but your attitude will.
Feeling that you are the only one who is making the effort, the one who
gives can be very emotionally draining, leaving us "running on empty."
When we expect our spouse to fill all our needs, we are placing a tremendous
burden on them that they may not be equipped to fill. This is why friends
are so important, godly friends who support you and agree with the concept
of putting your marriage first. My friends could get me all stirred up,
confirming that "it is not fair." Or, they can pray for me and lift me
up, strengthening me when I feel that I do not have the strength to go
on. Gather together some friends and create your own "praying wives (or
husbands) club." Meet on a regular basis to share problems and progress-and,
most importantly, to pray.
When you take the focus off of yourself and what is fair and you build
a support system to encourage you in your efforts, you will find that
not only is your spouse happier, but you are too!
*Of course, this is not about abusive situations where violence or inappropriate
behavior is taking place. But rather addresses the daily annoyances as
mentioned in this article.
Read an excerpt
from: Love Extravagantly: Making the Modern Marriage Work by Marita
Littauer & Chuck Noon
Read Chuck Noon's
article, Looking For Better Opportunities
your copy of Love Extravagantly: Making the Modern Marriage Work
from Marita Littauer
Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.
Littauer is a professional speaker with over twenty years of experience.
She is the author of ten books including Love
Extravagantly:Making the Modern Marriage Work, and You've
Got What It Takes. She is the president of CLASServices
Inc., an organization that provides resources, training, and promotion
for speakers and authors.
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