Cleaning Out Your Fixer Upper
Cleaning up a house involves throwing useless and unnecessary things out. To do this you must go through everything and make many little decisions about what to keep and what to throw out. In fact the time of this lesson (May of 2019) there is a social media and television phenomenon called the KonMari method. It is based on the teaching of author and reality TV star Marie Kondo and includes going through your possessions after you pile everything up and helps you make decisions about throwing things out based on what sparks joy to you. In fact, it has become so popular that donation centers have become overrun with goods.
I have to admit here, that my wife and I have been making loose plans to do something similar in our house. We have even practiced the KonMari folding method! Overtime, clothes that you no longer wear, and items that no longer work just add up to the point that some things need to be thrown out.
There are also things in your marriage that you need to decide to throw out so that you can have better marriage. Getting rid of these things can make a huge difference in your relationship. It only requires some decisions and effort on your part.
In this lesson, we will consider three things you should throw out of your marriage.
1. Peer Pressure
As a teenager I remember vividly the pressure of my peer group to wear certain clothes or shoes, listen to current culturally acceptable music, and even to have an attitude toward adults. Although, it is most obvious in youth, it is actually just impactful in grown ups! This pressure actually follows you throughout your life as you psychologically seek to be accepted by whatever peer group you choose to involve yourself in.
The difference between need and want
As a teenager, it was sneakers that I wanted because my peers had them. I remember my parents expression at me wanting $100.00 shoes that were really no better than the $20.00 ones! It the same basic pressure in adulthood, but compounded in larger ways. Things like, a name brand clothing, electronics, late model cars, and even houses that we have to have simply because everyone else has them.
This pressure can have a huge impact on your marriage. You can purchase things that are not realistic to your budget. In buying things, or involving yourself in things just because you want to be viewed as “cool” as we used to say, can put enormous pressure on your marriage. How are you going to pay for these things? You may have to do without things that you really need to have things that you only want.
Understanding the difference between what you need and want can help you to spurn the pressure of being like everyone else. For example, I really want a classic 1967 Chevy Camaro to drive back and forth to work. However, I have what I need to commute to work in our 15 year old minivan. Likewise, you may actually have what you need, but are confusing those with what you want, or what your peers decide that you need.
The social media effect
Speaking frankly, I don’t personally know anyone who is not impacted or involved in some sort of social media platform. Even those who shune Instagram or Facebook, are involved in other platforms like Youtube, Pinterest, or LinkedIn. This has a profound impact on marriage, because it expands your peer group to world wide. Now there is pressure from people that you only see over electronic means.
People posts or videos are made with the sole intent of promoting themselves whether intentional or not. No one posts a picture of their 15 year old minivan or the small house they have lived in for 10 years. No one has a bad-hair day post or video. Everyone’s kids are well-behaved and rarely are there any church problems. The overall effect of this is that it creates a pressure that the people who post them cannot even live up to.
The main thing is that you put you faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and that you do your part to spread the Gospel message. However, this all gets losts sometimes in the peer pressure of religious groups. There is this pressure to be something or someone that you are not.
It is like an ongoing masquerade ball. I have never been to one, but I have read about them in books, and seen them in movie scenes. The idea is that you wear a mask at the ball and interact with people while hiding your identity. At the end of the ball, everyone takes off the mask to reveal who they really are.
Church can become this way at times. Everyone shows up wearing masks, pretending to be someone they are not. There is therefore a pressure to be something you are not, a pressure to live up to a standard that no one is actually living up to, because they are wearing masks as well!
Even though I may wear an angel mask at church, the truth is that at times I lose my temper with my wife and kids. At times I have a grumpy day. I am even tempted to sin against God in all sorts of ways. It can actually be liberating to take off the mask and just be human and to know that you don’t have to live up to unreal standards or expectations of men. The Bible addresses this very issue in the New Testament.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.I John 1:8
Is divorce contagious?
There are some interesting statistics about divorce and peer pressure. A research team headed by Rose McDermott of Brown University after analyzing two decades of data found that participants who had a divorced friend were 75% more likely to become divorced themselves. Also, participants who a friend of a friend who were divorced were 33% more likely to become divorced themselves. You can read more about this here.
Obviously, there are other variables to consider, but this is a trend that is clearly illustrating the power of peer pressure in marriage. The influence that your peers have on you is definitely real and can have a negative impact on your marriage.
This is why you should throw peer pressure out of your marriage.
2. Expectations for Your Spouse
This may seem counterintuitive, but throwing out expectations for your spouse can absolutely revolutionize your marriage relationship. In not setting up expectations for your spouse, you free yourself and your spouse from disappointment and frustration in marriage.
Living in the 100/0 principle
In his small book entitled the 100/0 Principle The Secret to Great Relationships, author Al Ritter explains this principle that he teaches to companies to improve their culture and productivity. By giving 100% to a relationship and expecting 0% in return the overall culture of a workplace can be transformed.
I believe this same principle readily applies to marriage and is in fact a Bible principle. If you commit to giving 100% to your marriage relationship you can fully experience the value of love and the life-time covenant of marriage. This means that you completely sell out for your marriage, that you totally give it everything that you have. You burn all your bridges and just go for it!
However, there is as catch to this, that you expect 0% from your spouse. This means that you are so committed to your relationship that you give everything when it seems like your spouse is giving absolutely nothing. The result is that you get to experience the joy of giving in a biblically principled way. Also, when your spouse see this, they may actually begin investing more in the relationship themselves. They may start small, like 5%, but this OK since you have thrown out your expectations from them.
This kind of investment in love mirrors the story of the Gospel. That Christ gave absolutely everything (100%) for us who had invested exactly nothing (0%) in Him. He gave everything all the while expecting nothing in return.
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.Romans 5:6-9
It is this kind of love that inspires us to live for him. Him giving 100% makes me want to give that to Him.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.I John 4:10
We love him, because he first loved us.I John 4:19
Focus on You
Also, you can change how you look at your love and marriage by turning your judgmentalism and criticism on yourself instead of your spouse. In focusing on your own problems and contributing more to your relationship you change the thing that your can change which is you. The best way to do this is to use the Bible like a mirror. Read it, like it has something for you to correct, listen to Bible preaching as if there is something for you in it. Ask yourself questions about your relationship to God and the way that you treat your spouse.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.James 1:22-24
In correcting yourself with God’s help, you also begin correcting you love and relationship with your spouse. This has the side effect of drawing your spouse to a place of correction and faith in their life. In summary, give your all to your marriage without expecting anything in return. Throw out your expectations.
No one has a perfect marriage
You can also develop unreal expectations for your marriage. The dirty little secret is that all love relationships and marriages have problems. The thing is no one advertises those problems. Maybe you have expectations for your love that are not all that realistic. No your husband is not always prince charming with a flower in his mouth coming to romantically sweep you off your feet. Your wife is not always a beauty queen that jumps into your arms when she sees you. Guess what, everyone has morning breath! Everyone has problems and its OK. You can make your marriage special if you understand this. Throw out the expectations and be what you can be in your marriage.
There are so many things pulling at us today. There is so much competition for your attention that your love can easily be neglected. You don’t have to throw out the things that are distracting you, but throw out the way those things are distracting you.
Personal technology is absolutely amazing. When I was little, the only electronic devices in our house was a small TV with rabbit ear antenna (It picked up 3 channels that we rarely were allowed to watch), a small stereo system, and an answering machine. Wow, times have really changed over the past couple of decades. Now it seems like every house has high speed wi-fi with computers, smart phones, tablets, and big screen smart TVs.
Technology gives us great tools like the Fixer Upper Marriage podcast and website. I was recently introduced to an app for my phone called Evernote, I now organize all my lesson plans, recipes, and even grocery lists on it! You can do just about anything with the little supercomputer in your pocket called a smartphone. You can even watch TV and play games on it.
This has however taken a toll on marriage relationships. The most obvious are the ease of access to pornography and the ability to hide relationships online from one another. Only a few years ago, a married couple could sit in the bed together and have important, intimate conversations about life and their day. Now, couples sit in bed and play on their electronic devices. Couples will even text while in the next room or even sitting beside each other!
The answer is not throwing out all electronics. Although living off the grid does sound enticing. You have to learn how to prioritize your relationship and take deliberate attempts to spend undistracted time together.
Ideas to handle electronic distractions:
- Go on a date and agree to not get out your phones or smart watches during that time.
- Once you are home and settled for the evening, put your devices away to make yourself available to your spouse.
- Take a social media fast. This includes all forms of social media including Pinterest and Youtube.
- Go off the grid for a day with your spouse.
If you have any other ideas send an email to Jason@FixerUpperMarriage.org and I will add to the shownotes and/or discuss them in class.
It is also important to fully realize that your spouse is the most important family that you have. Your spouse is more important than your children, your parents, and even your closest friends. You have to maintain the love in your marriage above all these other relationships that can potential distract from your marriage.
3 Things that you should throw out of your marriage.
- Peer Pressure
- Expectations for Your Spouse