(This is an updated version of a page I first posted over a year ago . . . )
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“I have no way of knowing whether or not you married the wrong person.
But I do know that if you treat the wrong person like the right person,
you could well end up having married the right person after all.
It is far more important to be the right kind of person
than it is to marry the right person.”
— Author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar
I found this very wise story on another website. . . .
One day there was a wife who was wickedly angry at her husband. She was hurting bitterly from years of unmet needs, and disappointment in her husband’s behavior. She dreamed of ways to get back at him, to make him hurt in return.
Somebody told her about a very old wise man, who sat atop the nearby mountain. Surely he would have a clever and sinister idea for her.
At the suggestion, the woman climbed the mountain and found the wise man.
“Sir,” she told him. “All I want to do is to cause heartache for my husband. I don’t think he even has feelings, but if he does, I want to hurt them!”
“Aaaaah, of course,” he responded with great empathy. “I will tell you what to do. For the next 2 months, I want you to just pretend that you actually love him. This is just for a short time, and there is no emotion necessary. Just ask yourself often, ‘what *actions* would I take if I loved him?’ and then do those things. Then, come back and see me, and I’ll tell you what to do to hurt him fiercely.”
“Okay,” said the bitter wife. “I guess since it is just for a short time, and no emotion is necessary, I can act like I would if I loved him. Oh, boy!”
In the following weeks, she enacted the plan wholeheartedly. She faithfully acted like she was in love with her husband, and then she returned to the sage on the mount, for the rest of the plan.
“So you followed my advice? Good!” said the wise old man. Ready? Here is what you do next. You climb back down that mountain and you just LEAVE your husband. That’s it. He will be so shocked after your kind actions, that you will break his heart!”
“Leave!” gasped the woman. “I can’t leave now!”
“But why not?” he asked.
“Because…” she began, stunned at her own discovery. “…because now, I love him!”
“Aaaaah, yes.” smiled the sage. “I suppose you do!” . . . ………………………….
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And here is a story written by Glennon Melton that she posted on her blog Momastery.com —
There was a couple who’d been married for twelve years. The first two years were good, happy even . . . but then the kids came and work got hard and money got tight and the shine wore off of each of them. She used to see strong and silent but now she saw cold and distant. He used to see passionate and loving, but now he saw dramatic and meddling. They allowed themselves to become annoyed with each other. And so they stopped being careful. They stopped taking care of each other because they each decided they needed to look out for themselves.
And the distances between them grew longer and deeper until it felt impossible to touch even when they were in the same room. And one day she said to her girlfriend . . . I just don’t love him anymore. And it felt terrifying and exciting to say. And he said to his buddy . . . I don’t know if I ever loved her. And their friends said what about counseling but it all seemed tangled up too tight to try to unwind.
She got home from work one evening and fed the kids and put them to bed and she was tired to the bone. And he was late again. Late again. And even though he was late and the house was a mess, she knew that he would walk in the door, pour his glass of wine, and sit down at the kitchen table and relax. He’d sit and relax. She couldn’t even remember what relaxing felt like. She was always either going like hell or sleeping. Somebody had to keep the family running.
She stared at his bottle of wine on the counter. Then her eyes wandered over to their wedding photo on the wall. Clueless, she thought. We were clueless. But happy. Look at us. We were happy. We were hopeful.
God, please help us, she said silently.
Then she walked over to the counter and poured a glass of wine for him. She put it next to his book on the kitchen table, the place he loved to sit and relax, and she went upstairs to sleep.
He tiptoed into the house fifteen minutes later. He knew he’d missed the kids’ bedtime again, he knew his wife would be angry again, and he prepared himself for her steely silence. He hung up his coat and walked into the kitchen. He saw his glass of wine, and his book, and his chair pulled out for him. He stood and stared for a moment, trying to understand.
It felt like she was speaking directly to him for the first time in a long, long while.
He sat down and drank his wine. But instead of reading, he thought about her. He thought about how hard she worked, how early she woke to get the kids to school and herself to the office. He felt grateful. He finished his wine and then walked over to the coffee maker. He filled it up and set the automatic timer. 5:30 am. It would be ready when she came downstairs. He placed her favorite mug on the counter. And then he walked upstairs and quietly slipped into bed next to her.
The next morning she woke up and stumbled downstairs, exhausted, to the kitchen. She stopped when she heard the coffee maker brewing and stared at it for a few moments, trying to understand.
It felt like he was speaking directly to her for the first time in a very, very long while.
She felt grateful.
That evening, she stayed up until he got home. And she allowed her arm to brush his as they prepared dinner together. And after the kids went to bed and they assumed their TV viewing positions on the couch . . . he reached out for her hand. It was hard, but he did it.
And things started to unwind. A little teeny bit.
Look. I know it’s hard. It’s all so damn hard and confusing and complicated and things get wound up so tight you can’t even find the ends sometimes.
All I’m saying is that somebody’s got to pour that first glass of wine.
Because love is not something for which to search or wait or hope or dream. It’s simply something to do. . . . ……………………………………………………………………………………………
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“Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbor (or your spouse); act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone you will presently come to love him.” – C. S. Lewis, in “Mere Christianity,” from the section “Charity” (parentheses mine)
“Corrupt forms of love wait for the neighbor to become a worthy object of love before actually loving him. This is not the way of Christ. . . . Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love; and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbor worthy if anything can.” – Thomas Merton, “Disputed Questions,” pg. 125.
“Love is not a feeling; real love is an action, an activity.
“When we love someone our love becomes demonstrable or real only through our exertion–through the fact that for someone we take an extra step or walk an extra mile. Love is as love does, not as love says.
“Moreover, real love is a choice. We don’t have to love, we choose to love. If we are not loving, it is not because we are not feeling loving; it is because we have made the choice not to love. Real love does not have its roots in a feeling of love. To the contrary, real love often occurs in a context in which the feeling of love is lacking, when we act loving despite the fact we don’t feel loving.
“The tendency to confuse love with the feeling of love allows people all manner of self-deception. Many, many people possessing a feeling of love and even acting in response to that feeling act in all manner of unloving and destructive ways. On the other hand, a genuinely loving individual will often take loving and constructive action toward a person he or she consciously dislikes, actually feeling no love toward the person at the time and perhaps even finding the person repugnant in some way.
“True love is not a feeling by which we are overwhelmed. When love exists it does so with or without a loving feeling. Genuine love, therefore, is volitional rather than emotional. The person who truly loves does so because of a decision to love, to be a loving person. This person has made a commitment to be loving whether or not the loving feeling is present. If it is, so much the better; but if it isn’t, the commitment to love, the will to love, still stands and is still exercised.”
– M Scott Peck, abridged from “The Road Less Traveled”