Honeymooners class: Lesson 4

 Trust, submission and choice
By Ken and Lynn

Last week, we did not really have a ‘proper’ lesson but a panel discussion took place instead. Issues shared included addressing of in-laws, finances and problems with driving and of giving directions. All these boiled down to communication which was today’s topic.

Let’s talk about finances perhaps, since this is one of the greatest issue ( to me) that I need to learn and with that, challenges to overcome.

Ken and I decided that when we unite, everything that we own belong to each other. They include our finances, of course and yup, many of my race T-shirts are worn by him now since they are too big for me anyway =p. I had no qualms about combining our savings since I went into the union with less cash than him. Thankfully, he didn’t mind that. However, I found that when we combined our incomes, what I was introduced to, inevitably, was the fact that I can no longer spend like I’m a single and that I have to think about the family.

It changed my spending habit, for better or for worse.

I thought twice about any purchase which was really a torture … initially. Whenever I picked up something which I fancied, I would be reminded of my status now and to think about the extra money that I could save so that it could go into our housing, for example. Would I really need this stuff? Would the family need it? Is there cheaper version? So it’s not surprising that I spent more on household products like kitchenware than on clothes now.

I see the above change a positive one though. I was a spendthrift, still am, if you compare me with Ken. But I believe I have improved a lot in terms of my savings. The greatest struggle, then, was depending on Ken’s income now that I am not earning my keeps. It’s a real bother as I have really not depended on anyone for finances for more than a decade and to suddenly swing to another extreme was too much to adapt. I kept feeling apologetic about spending any amount of money and it became extremely challenging when I wanted to buy something fanciful for myself. Thankfully, Ken was all-supportive and was ready to indulge me if the item would serve me well. One thing he told me that made me more at ease was the fact that if I could not depend on my husband or submit to him in everything (in this case, finances), what makes me think that I could submit to the Lord? With that, I was more  assured about spending OUR money.

The issue of communication that Lynn talked about is closely linked to our innate selfishness as human beings.
As was mentioned during the class, marriage reveals to us just how selfish we really are.
We grow up thinking that we’re really rather cool and generous people, and it is only when we commit to sharing our whole life with another person that we realise that there is much that we’re unwilling to share or give up, even to this person whom we have committed to spending the rest of our lives with.

At each turn when there are differences of opinion, we find ourselves fighting for ‘MY’ rights, and always being disappointed that he/she doesn’t seem to care about ‘ME’.
Our thoughts are centered around ourselves and what we’re losing, instead of what the two of us, as a couple may be gaining instead.
Marriage is a journey of submission. Submission to a relationship with another. A relationship so close that you choose to die to yourself and your rights because you trust that your partner would never hurt you and will always do what is best for you.

I KNOW that Lynn will do what is best for us. That’s why I have no qualms sharing everything with her and trusting her in her choice of expenditure.

Nevertheless, we are human, and it is inevitable that sometimes we feel discouraged or that dark thoughts enter into our mind.
“Is she really doing what is best for us?”, “What if he doesn’t really care any more?”
Such thoughts do enter our mind, and when I encounter these thoughts, I bring to mind a story that a colleague shared once.
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked, “Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Indeed, it is only human that we sometimes think such thoughts. That is hard to control.
It is what we do when these thoughts enter our mind that we can and should control.

Starve the evil thoughts. They may never truly die out, but they grow weaker each time you choose to starve them.

I (Lynn) just want to share a song ‘Remember When’ (listen to the song by clicking the link) featuring the first part of the movie UP. I find the lyrics meaningful and of course, the life of Carl and Ellie, touching. It struck a chord with me. Marriage is for life, for better or for worse. And remember, we are married to our partners, not our children. In the end, our children will have to leave us to form a family themselves and we will be left with our spouses. Take time to nurture and spend quality time with each other. Remember those are sacred moments between the both of you. Romantic days will not always be there but our commitment towards each other has to. I have seen many parents (mine for example) who, after many years of marriage, have turned cold towards each other. They have spent all their attention on their children that they forgot about each other, the person whom they said the vows to many, many years ago.

And I hope I will remember that when the little ones come along. =)