Anyone who knows me (Megan), knows I don’t do sports. Never played them. Never watch them. Never learned to appreciate them. Yet at this very moment I have an email sitting in my inbox. An invitation to join a group of friends by entering a NCAA bracket during “March Madness”. It’s not an emotionally charged or thought provoking email, it’s just meant to be fun and relational.
This email presents a sort of dilemma for me. It’s the kind of thing that forces me to see my own selfishness. Without a doubt I can easily respond with an, “It’s just not me” attitude and that would be true. I could easily ignore the invitation because, as I already said, making a bracket is the furthest thing from what I would do of my own volition. For some reason though, I don’t believe that leaves me off the hook.
You see, I want to build a better and stronger relationship with the people who sent me this email. I desire to know them and be known by them. And while this type of thing is far from how I would choose to pursue relationships, I recognize relationships are not all about me. In fact, when I turn a relationship into something that is only about me, I am the one who loses out.
I believe this type of relational dilemma regularly shows up in marriage. In marriage it may look more like this:
Wife: “Why don’t you ever compliment me on how I look?”
Husband: “I always think you look good. Why do I need to say it? It’s just not me to say it out loud all the time, you know.”
Husband: “Why don’t you ever initiate sex?”
Wife: “It’s just not me. It makes me feel to weird when I am coming on to you.”
Wife: “I’d really like to go see ___________ with you. You know, the new movie that just came out.”
Husband: “That’s a ‘girl’ movie isn’t it? Sorry babe, but you know that just isn’t me.”
Husband: “I thought maybe tonight we could try something different, like go to an archery shooting range.”
Wife: “You want to go shoot at a target with a bow and arrow? That definitely isn’t me. I’d rather not.”
To be honest, we’ve heard the phrase, “It’s just not me,” said by a number of spouses over the years. And in all honesty, I get it. Really I do. What I am learning though is that if I want to have better relationships, marriage or otherwise, I must recognize it’s not just about me!
Marriage is not about being in a relationship with ourselves. We are in a relationship with someone who is different. Your spouse has different desires, hopes, dreams, hobbies and personality characteristics. Even for those who believe they are married to someone who is exactly like them, you can bet that your differing desires will surface at very inconvenient times.
Every marriage will face those moments where it is easy for either spouse to play the, “It’s just not me.” card. Unfortunately, when this card is played too often it will damage the marriage relationship. Rather than creating intimacy with your spouse, it isolates your spouse. Instead of sacrificing to meet the desires of your spouse, you are holding onto the selfishness of your own desires. Rather than building up and encouraging your spouse, doubt, fear and insecurity become the norm.
Instead of saying, “It’s just not me,” choose to live differently in your marriage. Choose to help your spouse calm their fears, failures and insecurities. Today, if you find yourself with a well rehearsed “it’s just not me,” work on replacing that attitude with a “what can I do to help my spouse feel special” attitude. Don’t withhold from your spouse because you feel less comfortable with something you know they would love. Give of yourself, get out of your comfort zone and move forward in strength.