Monday, 2 April 2012

The Two Degree Difference

Dr. John Trent wrote a booklet entitled The 2 Degree Difference. This principle can be applied to several aspects of our life but since this is a marriage blog it makes the most sense to apply it to marriage.

Apparently Dr. Trent and I have at least one thing in common; we are both prone to falling asleep at the steering wheel. John tells of a time when he was making a trip late at night, a trip he had made many times before. In the wee hours of the morning he dosed off. He awoke to the sound of his car sliding on gravel. He had driven across six lanes of traffic. His immediate reaction was to whip the steering wheel to the right, 180 degrees. This caused his car to roll over. He realized that if he had just turned the wheels 2 degrees at a time he would have been able to avert the roll over while bringing the car under control.

The similarity is that some of us fall asleep at the marriage wheel. Sometimes it takes the form of neglect. Sometimes it is a struggle for control. At other times unfulfilled expectations become the culprit. In most cases self-centeredness is at the heart of the issue. (See James 4:1-2) In these instances it would be great if we could turn the wheel 180 degrees but chances are we can’t. So we begin to change two degrees at a time. Perhaps the husband could take a cup of coffee up to his wife as she is getting ready to start her day; or give her every other Saturday off to go do whatever she pleases while you watch the kids and clean the house; or maybe it is as simple as putting the sports page down when your wife is talking to you. Start small and keep adding little things that will make a huge difference.

For the wife it may mean allowing her husband to decompress for 30 minutes when he comes home from work before attempting to have any meaningful communication. It may mean making a special dinner, or setting aside any notion of gender roles and just taking out the garbage without nagging him. Again keep looking for the little things that make life a little easier or more pleasant.

This principle can be applied even if you have a great marriage. Most likely you are already being thoughtful and doing little things for one another but we all become lax. Ask yourself what have I stopped doing that used to bring pleasure or comfort to my spouse? What have they hinted at me doing that I never get around to?

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