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It Is Not Fair!

By Marita Littauer
Guest Columnist -- 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?

Marita Littauer & Chuck NoonEach 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 like that."

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. what will make the other person happy, and I will be happier? But, I know from experience it does work.

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

Order your copy of Love Extravagantly: Making the Modern Marriage Work

More from Marita Littauer

Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.

Marita LittauerMarita 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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