Monday, August 5, 2019

Five Little Words

I don't remember where exactly I heard these words but they have come in handy over the years. I started using them when we had a home phone but even with today's cell phones, this phrase is extremely useful.

Often, people will treat me as my husband's personal secretary, letting me know things that he needs to be aware of. It can run the range from "I need him to call me" to "Beatrice is in the hospital" to "The pastor needs to take care of this." This little phrase that I'm about to share with you will help alleviate a lot of potential strife in your marriage. Five words that can change your marriage are:

I will let Pastor know.

Yes, that simple phrase can change your marriage for the better. Here's why there is a temptation for us to speak on behalf of our spouse or even to make promises for them that we haven't verified they can follow through with. When we speak on their behalf, we are inserting ourselves into a position that we don't need to be in. When we tell folks things like "I'll get him to call you back" or "I'll get him to go out for a visit" or "I'll have her take care of it" we're also putting pressure on our relationship with our spouse. We are not our spouse's timekeeper, we don't set their agenda, we don't need to speak to folks on their behalf. When we take on that role, we are in some ways telling our spouse and those that they serve that he's not capable of making these decisions for himself. 

These five little words "I will let him/her know" takes you out of the conversation. It lets the person you're talking to know that you've heard them and that the information will be relayed, which is all you can really do. It also lets your spouse know that you trust them to do what needs to be done in regards to their work. The truth is you actually can't make your spouse call people back, make them visit folks in the hospital, much of anything really except maybe get frustrated that you for added to their workload by speaking on their behalf. 

In all our years in the pastorate and using this phrase, I've never had a single person not accept it. I've never had someone take offense at it or demand that I make sure that Joel does something for them on my word. I can't say the same for phrases like "I'll get him to call you when he gets in." Sometimes, there are other things going on in these situations and when Joel finally makes it home, the last thing he really wants to do is make a phone call. When I've promised someone that he'll get back to them, I've created a place of tension where there didn't need to be one. 

And that's really the key to these five little words. We can create more work for our spouse or we can help lighten the load. There's no real reason for us to set our spouse's agenda when someone calls our home or talks to us on Sunday after church. We can gladly relay information, forward emails, send a quick text to let them know someone called the house looking for them. But we don't need to speak on their behalf. And these five little words are a great way to do that.

1 comment:

  1. I think that is good in any marriage. I never thought of it that way. Thank you for bringing this to light.