Next week I’ll resume the series on twisted games people play. I want to point to a different direction today and it’s about my marriage to Judy.
July 29, 2012 is our forty fifth anniversary. If I was to look back and say what it is that keeps us going – falling in love, being in love and loving each other, I could suggest several things we’ve done to mind the gap of marital distance. Jesus certainly is the core of our marriage but here are other things that keep us from distance in our marriage.
We believe marital distance is the number one enemy in any home. Now that belief didn’t take shape until about twenty years into our marriage and I’m the reason it didn’t – not Judy. But once I understood how devastating emotional and marital distance was, it broke my heart to see what it or I did to Judy and our children.
I have this marital report card I use in MORE Married Conferences to show how well we’re doing at any given time. The grading is in nine areas that every marriage must hurdle if they want to enjoy each other more often than not. 1. Know what it means to separate from parents 2. Work together to develop autonomy 3. Becoming parents and learning not to see children as intrusive. Many divorces happen because of that 4. Coping with crisis 5. Making a safe place for conflict to happen 6. Expressing love sexually and emotionally – we don’t have to go around and say “I need a hug.” 7. Maintaining humor – worse enemy is boredom 8. Preserving double vision – maintaining good memories are important to hang on to. 9. No SECRETS!
Minding this gap of marital distance has taken and will take tons of work. Even in an older age we still do this work. Hasn’t all been pretty but let me tell you, nothing will change until the man takes responsibility to mind this gap first. My bias I know.
I’m grateful to God for Judy. Judy thank you for forty five years. I’m looking ahead to forty five more if that’s possible. 🙂
Without getting into a big word like narcissism, how about giving a simple definition of me games? I outshine others, especially you and my view of self is less than true. Whether adolescent or adult, this person won’t admit if they hurt others and push people away. They only look at their good side.
My wife recently gave me an article entitled Burglar abuses “dumb” victim in apology letter. The letter from a 16-year-old burglar was released by the West Yorkshire police in London to show the mindset of criminals who target people’s home.
He writes “To be honest I’m not bothered or sorry about the fact that I burgled your home. I don’t know why I am writing a letter to you! I have been forced to write this letter by ISSP.
The young offender went on to say the victim failed to draw their curtains before they went to sleep and were “thick enough” to leave their downstairs window open. So he says, “I’m not going to show any sympathy or remorse.”
Notice this offender’s Me Game? It doesn’t matter if I’m talking about a criminal offender or a regular citizen, this game can be played by anyone. It’s all about me.
Out of many thoughts on Minding this Gap, one is demonstrated by Jesus. The Bible states “…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
Even in my motives for serving, it can be about me but when I see Jesus, I see he really has a heart for others and sacrificed himself for us. Me gamers won’t do that.
What other thoughts would you think minds this gap?
I won’t accept when things go wrong and to someone else, the blame belongs. That’s the blame game by choosing to be a victim for agenda reasons. We can see that in the cartoon. The kid is already thinking about blaming a bird for breaking a vase so he can stay out of trouble.
I know there are genuine victims – people who had no choice when unavoidable harm came their way. It’s hard to admit that because we tend to think something could have been done to avoid the injury. The thought of being out of control is unacceptable so we fight the use of the very word – victim.
Sad to say, some people like the idea of being a victim when they aren’t or if they were—still want to live as one. I mean that happens! They see it as an opportunity to spring into something irresponsible but wouldn’t unless they can believe they are victims. Then, the game is played to get the win.
Is it premeditated? Yes. Does it feel like it’s premeditated? No. This game seems to be all about feeling but it’s really about how they think. Everything is done by the game player to keep their victims from discovering that fact. Big dramas result.
When does the blame game stop? Would you let me confirm what you already know? It’s when the person playing the game decides to be responsible for themselves and their choices. They get how this game hurts others plus themselves. They start to care about people.
Jesus was firm about this throughout the New Testament and demonstrated how important it was to take responsibility for his actions. He was not a Blame Game Player. We saw this in John 18 even when false charges were trumped up against him. He never hedged about who he was and what he came to do. He was a victor and though treated badly, he loved.
The blame game needs to be exposed early in life or else it will be a tough habit to break. What do you feel when this game is played on you and does it help to know the game is premeditated? How?
In my last blog I mentioned that minding the gap between living in the real world versus a dream world is critical. The dream world, to which I refer, is the secret place where irresponsible fantasies reside.
I realize that world and being a private person are two different concepts. But as I focus on this gap between secrets and reality in my work with married couples, it doesn’t take long to discover how secrets kill marriages and ruins families. They reinforce identities of duplicity where we think we know the person and find out we don’t. What we see isn’t what we get.
Everyone will struggle with this on some level because we’re human. Yet there’s something insidious happening when a choice is made, and might I say it starts early in life, to actively live as a person who lies as much or more by omission than commission. As a person who relishes the control of what irresponsible fantasies provide over supplying even simple facts to a question someone would ask us. We let the thrill of the excitement of the forbidden make a home within us, where people are dehumanize so we can maintain Secret Games.
I like playing Texas Holdem on my I Pod and occasionally with friends. Trying to figure a person’s Tell – the secret of knowing what’s in their hand – is built into the game. But irresponsible secrets/fantasies have no place in building a healthy relationship.
Jesus modeled the remedy in a real world way. He was open and transparent because he believed people matter and yes, us too.
What do you think about a No Secrets policy in real world relationships as a means to mind this gap, where harm lurks in some shape or form?