Of shoes and dust in marriage


[notice]A fortnightly column on marriage, family and relationships.[/notice]

Try wearing your shoes on the wrong feet. You will only cause your feet to stress. You will not be able to move forward. You will walk but your walk will be skewed as if you are limping!

What causes a perfectly able person who can walk properly to limp? It is when there is something wrong with the leg or the foot. It is when there is an injury in these vital parts of the body that they find themselves not walking properly.

There are many causes that make a person limp some are self- inflicted and some are accidents. Whatever it is we all know that a limp is not a normal function for the legs and feet as they were created to walk uprightly.

The image of putting shoes on the wrong feet sounds childish? It is! You only expect this error in judgement from young children who don’t understand which shoe goes in which foot. We lovingly correct them and put the shoes on the right feet.

Wrong-footed behaviour
The resulting limp from putting on shoes incorrectly would look foolish indeed in an adult but how many of us make this mistake? When we try to change one another; when we try to convince one another that our way is the best; when we force our way and do not want to listen to another’s opinion because what do they know; ”Women are emotional! Men can’t think! Even God said it is not good for a man to be alone”.

When we scream and shout at each other and do not want to listen to each other’s opinion aren’t we doing the same thing? We are all created differently! There are differing qualities that God has placed in men and women that make us function beautifully when we allow ourselves to fully embrace our differences. We are created equal but have different functions and roles. When we try to force ourselves to be what we were never meant to be ‘we are putting our shoes on the wrong feet”. This will cause our marriages not to function properly. There will be no peace and order.

The battle of the sexes has been well documented. It has existed for centuries. That is why we find verses that guide us how to be with each other as different genders. Conflict is part of every marriage. A marriage that does not have conflict means that it is one sided!

Whenever you find two people whether adult or child it is inevitable for conflict to happen. It is two people who do not think the same. They do not have the same way of looking at things, nor do they have the same mind therefore they will have differing opinions on most things. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It is bad when there is no respect for the different opinions or a healthy environment where difference in opinion can be welcomed and embraced.

When we try to change each other as sexes we are effectively putting our shoes on the wrong feet. A shoe that was meant for the left foot can be worn on the right foot but the wearer will be uncomfortable. It does not matter how many times you force and walk with it your foot will be sore as you are forcing it to walk in a shoe that is wrong for it.

We will continue to have a battle of the sexes as long as we do not celebrate one another’s differences and embrace them. I do believe that we are made different for a reason. These differences are meant to move us forward at a faster pace together than we would alone. Try walking faster with only one shoe. You will not go far. It will also cause you to limp.

Wear one shoe pair at a time. Try wearing a training shoe with a high heel shoe! Ladies you know you will not go far. And you will not walk right. Focus on one issue at a time. So many of  us fight unfairly when we experience conflict in our marriages. Instead of focusing on what you are fighting about at that moment many dig up the past and remind the spouse of past mistakes. “You always do this…you never change.” You bring up other weaknesses that the person might have. That is not fighting fair. That is blowing dust on your relationship and your journey together.

Quad biking
Recently we celebrated our anniversary by taking some needed time away and went to Mozambique. On the day of our anniversary we went quad biking. The very first time we ever were on a quad bike was years ago we rode it together. That was romantic. I held my husband as he rode the quad bike for us. The second time we rode two quad bikes in a forest type place where there many trees and water. We enjoyed the ride and the scenery.

Recently though the experience was a bit different. The route was in a sandy area which resulted in us gathering a lot of dust as we were riding. It was absolutely exhilarating to hear the sound of the quad bike and to drive it but it was not as comfortable to have to deal with the dust that was all over threatening to even come to the eyes. We could not ride next to each other that meant that the person riding behind you suffered the effects of the dust.

Before we rode the quad bikes we were very excited and were looking forward to the experience but when we were on them riding there were times we were not enjoying as much because of all the dust.

When people start off in a marriage they always envision a fairy tale that’s partly because we have been told as children through the many fairy tales read to kids that the “prince and the princess lived happily ever after”. It is rare that you find a fairy tale story that ends up in tears with the couple fighting each other; screaming at each other and hating each other.

When people are starting out in marriage they remind me of two people who are about to go on a quad bike experience. They are excited about their wedding day and about starting their life together. Nobody tells them that they will not “feel in-love” always. No-one sits them down to tell them about the realities of marriage. The reality is you will enjoy the ride and get to many beautiful moments together but you will have to deal with the dust as well. Dust from each other!!!

The most irritable effects of the dust — and potentially damaging — is the lasting effect it can have on the eyes. Before we took our quad bikes they told my husband to take off the white shirt he was wearing. They didn’t tell us of the amount of dust or how uncomfortable to the eyes riding the quad would be. Because my husband was riding behind me I had to constantly check if he was still fine. He had to ride a distance for me so as not to be affected by all the dust coming from my quad bike.

Lasting damage
It is the same in marriage if you are going to be fighting for the sake of fighting and not care of the damaging effects your “quad” is having on people around you; on people behind you and the people who are with you on your journey you might do and say things that will cause lasting damage.

You will damage how they see the journey with you going forward. It will not be an enjoyable journey being around you because you are putting dust in their eyes. You are putting dust in the marriage. It is not enjoyable being with you. Fight in a way that is a win-win, fight in a way that takes care of the feelings of others. You don’t want to say words to crush the feelings of others.

When you are riding through life together make sure that you are concerned about the feelings of others. Make sure that you are concerned about the vision of your spouse. The goal is to actually move your marriage forward when you fight; fight in a way that does not bring dust into each other’s eyes.

For a smooth walk in your marriage both shoes need to be worn on the correct feet so the body can be moved forward and walk fast. For an enjoyable ride where you will be able to see clearly the scenery of your marriage and appreciate the beauty of your spouse, fight in a way that will not cause dust to affect his or her marriage experience.

When you work together; truly caring for each other and embracing your differences you will go farther than you would alone and you will get there faster than you would if you were walking alone.


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