Tuesday, October 07, 2008

How to Have a Happy Marriage

Today at Happy Catholic, Julie posts a memorable prescription for happy marriage from the pen of Jim Elliot, Elisabeth Elliot's first husband. In a nutshell, a happy wife will focus on the 80% of her husband she adores ... the discontented one spend their entire marriage chipping away at the 20% she wants to change, making them both unhappy in the process.

The interesting thing to note about the context of this quote is that the man who wrote it -- and the woman who lived it -- were missionaries living in a jungle, raising a young child among the Auca Indians of Ecuador. Jim was speared to death while trying to make contact with the Aucas shortly after he and Elisabeth were married. Their story is told in her book Through Gates of Splendor. After burying her husband, Elisabeth and her young daughter returned to minister to the same tribe that had murdered Jim. Because of their courageous fidelity, the Gospel was preached to that people, and Jim's sacrifice was honored.

I don't know about you, but I have great difficulty living up to Elisabeth's example. All too often, I focus on that nagging 20% (or nagging on that 20%), instead of appreciating the 80% gift my husband offers me every day. Just this weekend, my nagging reached such a high-fevered pitch, my husband kindly requested a list of ten things he could do to make me happy. I handed him the following:

1. Cart dresser downstairs (it had been perched in my kitchen for a week)
2. Fix lamp on porch (languishing on my kitchen counter for two years)
3. Kiss your wife
4. Replace burned out bulbs in downstairs rooms
5. Put pool away (last winter it stayed out on the lawn, getting yucky)
6. Kiss your wife again.
7. Take us to dinner at Red Robins.
8. Spend 30 minutes playing with the kids.
9. Fix my e-mail.
10. Cuddle up and watch a movie after the kids are in bed.

I'm happy to report ... He got the whole list done!

Sweetheart's Day is October 16 ... What "love list" are you and your husband going to give each other?


HappyAutisticMama said...

What a great way to problem solve!

I have to admit, though, I've never heard of Sweetheart's Day. Just the name sounds great, though!

MightyMom said...

I'm afraid it might not be "postable".............


Sue said...

Mrs. Eliot left out her best tip: make it a short marriage, then have spouse speared- Desperate Irish Housewife