He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city. -- Proverbs 16:32
Choose today to react to tough circumstances in your marriage in loving ways instead of with irritation. Begin by making a list below of areas where you need to add margin to your schedule. Then list any wrong motivations that you need to release from your life.
Where do you need to add margin to your life? When have you recently overreacted? What was your real motivation behind it? What decisions have you made today?
This chapter boils irritation down to two main issues: stress and selfishness. We have to find ways to alleviate stress in our lives in order to protect our relationships from irritation. I felt some relief when I read this chapter knowing that I had at least done something right in my life and marriage. However, I could certainly add more margin to my life. I think it's going to take the form of truly resting on the Sabbath. If I can be more organized during the week, we can truly have a day of rest.
My current irritation mostly comes from selfishness. In fact, I struggled with this it so much this weekend that I wouldn't let myself move past day 6. (I should be on day 8 today!) I overreacted last night at the grocery store. It was truly my own fault. I insisted on going shopping after Portico last night (about 8pm). We didn't have a list and hadn't really planned any meals. Big no no... I was just worried that if we didn't go last night we would just eat out all week. (Something we are notorious for!) So my own lack of preparation put us in a stressful situation as we tried to stay within our budget (gotta love the envelope system) and plan meals on the fly.
When we got to the register, we were over our budget by 7 bucks. Without consulting me (how dare he!), Havie grabbed the expensive olive oil we had picked up and asked the cashier to take it off. I wanted to intercede and do something else, but I decided that he could make the decision. I didn't want to make him uncomfortable by correcting his decision. That could have been the end of it, but no... I was bubbling inside because my feelings were hurt that he didn't consult me. As soon as we got outside I told him that I would have done it differently. He got upset and we both made our accusations... it wasn't our finest moment. Luckily it wasn't a shouter. We haven't had one since I started this process.
One decision that I've made is to work on a routine. We had a good one going before I quit teaching, but haven't gotten it down since. It will help me add margin and avoid silly situations like Sunday. Secondly, my biggest focus is going to be on watching my irritation. I got an idea from the 2 degree difference forum at www.40daylovedare.com-
Create your own, “Stop/Think Card!” Find or make a simple 3 X 5 card (lined or unlined is fine). On one side, write the following verse, “I can do all things through Him (Jesus) who strengthens me. Phil. 4:13” Now put that index card in your pocket or purse. Every time you’re tempted to impatience or to say something negative to your spouse, move away and pull out your “Stop/Think” card. Read the verse. Then turn over the card and put one tally mark (like you’re keeping score) on the blank side, then put the card away. Even if you have to pull out the card 15 times during the first day – watch what happens in future days as you begin linking God’s word to your negative emotions!