As we drove to the restaurant for dinner, I recapped some of the great messages and comments we had received that day to Pat. Many of our family and friends had sweet remarks for us and so I asked him, “What do you think makes “us” work?” I told him I was going to write a blog; The Top 10 Reasons Pat and Kolleen Work. We each will list our top five. Here is Pat’s list of his five reasons we are still going strong. Of course his first answer was classic Pat...
1-Because I am such an easy-going guy. While he may have made this statement in jest, the fact of the matter is, it’s very true. Pat is a very laid back, calm and composed, kind of guy. His nickname in high school was “Cool Hand Luke” a name that suited him perfectly. Pat has always been able to remain steady in the boat when life, or I, began to rock it. While he is wired that way and I am not, we both now have an understanding that God’s desire, in the midst of any storm, struggle, or bad decision is for us to remain in peace. Pat has an incredibly peaceful personality. He remains calm and composed during the hard times; he helps us ride out storms together because he remains steady and stable. When I have jumped the gun in my decision making, which I have done a time or two, I’ve never been accused or ridiculed I can only recall one time he has ever, even slightly raised his voice towards me, or the kids. He is a man of peace and every marriage needs someone who can be a peacemaker.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9, NIV).
2- Because opposites attract. Let me tell you-we are complete opposites! I’m not sure if we could more opposite from one another. He is easy going; I am naturally anxious and worried. I love to read; he would prefer not to pick up a book, other than his Bible of course. He is a sports fanatic and loves to talk sports; I prefer watching sports my kids are participating in. I love people and love to go out and be around people; he is content to stay home. He is the introvert who prefers not to be seen. I am the extroverted one who doesn’t mind the spotlight. If we’re not careful though, those very opposite qualities we once found attractive, that drew us to each other, can become the very tools used against us to drive a wedge in our marriage. We can easily become frustrated with one another because we don’t like the same things. When we find ourselves commenting about the fact that we “just don’t have anything in common anymore” it’s time to remember, that’s what brought us together in the first place! Plan a date doing something with your spouse that they would love to do. Pat knows me well and he knows when I need him to take me out on a date and I know when he prefers time at home. After spending a little time working for a divorce attorney, I saw my fair share of crumbling marriages because many times, the couple had forgotten how to appreciate the ways they were different.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV).
3- Because we are on the same page. While we may be very different, we have the same priorities in life: faith, family, and work. We believe in, serve and love the God of the Bible. We have the same principles regarding our faith and family. The commitment we have made to each other and to our family, rather than weakening, has grown stronger through the years. When we were raising our kids, we were a team playing the same game, even when we may have had different opinions about a situation. We didn’t “overrule” each other. We respected the other’s authority; especially in front of the kids. When spouses aren’t on the same page, they constantly war against one another, trying to get the upper hand in the marriage. When mom puts dad down in front of the kids and overrules every decision he makes, or refuses to allow him to discipline; this creates a division within the home and marriage. While we may not always agree on certain issues; we do agree on the foundational truths that helped build a firm foundation for our marriage. Before anyone says, “I do” it is important to discover how the other intends to do it and what will be the belief system used to make decisions.
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness” (2 Corinthians 6:14, NIV)?
4- Because when we became one, we allowed each other to be individuals. We each have our personal interests and we respect them - now. I will admit that during the early years of our marriage, I was guilty of trying to change Pat. Mr. Athlete was playing a little too much basketball for my liking. But I don’t believe he has ever tried to change me. He has always shown unconditional love and grace to his wife, with her warts and all…he has always let me be me. Pat is free to do what Pat desires and I am free in the same way; however, we would never put ourselves in a situation that might cause hurt or a reason for broken trust. Far too many couples today believe that being an individual means doing whatever, whenever, with whomever. We have never looked at our marriage that way. We honor one another with the choices we make when we pursue our individual interests. We have always been very careful that we don’t put ourselves in situations where jealousy could become a seed that could eventually grow into a need to control the other. We all should be able to trust our spouse.
“Let’s behave appropriately as people who live in the day, not in partying and getting drunk, not in sleeping around and obscene behavior, not in fighting and obsession”(Romans 13:13, CEB).
5- We complement each other. We make each other better. Where I am weak, he is strong and where he is weak, I have my strengths. We don’t flaunt our strengths and we don’t belittle each other in weakness. We work at encouraging one another, building each other up rather using our time, to put each other down, pointing out every flaw we see. I don’t know many people who enjoy living under the constant criticism of a spouse. We all need to do our part to see the best in each other so we can bring out the best in one another. Always.
“Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]” (1 Corinthians 13:7, AMP).
So what do you think? Did he do a good job with his top five? Stay tuned- Kolleen's will be posted next week!