Some days are just rough. Perhaps the minute you got out of bed, today, things started to go wrong. Maybe you scalded yourself in the shower, nicked yourself shaving, forgot your coffee on the way to work, and received a speeding ticket as you were running late. From time to time, all of us have a rough day. Perhaps, normally, you are usually happy in the morning and maybe you even sing as you get ready and leave for work with a big smile on your face. The normal behavior we present is what our future spouse will typically expect. However, in this post, I’m addressing those times where you or your potential spouse is not up to par.
All people have those rough days, and how your potential spouse handles those days says a lot about what you can expect in marriage. It is not fair to expect your boyfriend or girlfriend to automatically know how to act when you are having an off day as this takes time and practice. However, if after being together a considerable amount of time, your significant other still does not approach you with love and understanding on those days, it is a good indicator that once you are married, he or she still won’t naturally offer you grace when you are struggling and having one of those bad days.
In this area, my husband is a champ. One day he asked me to go get him a burger while I was out in town with a friend. While I thought I asked for the item he requested, I came home with something completely different. He did not get angry; he just mentioned that the burger was not what he requested. Out of nowhere, I plopped in my computer chair and started wailing. “I can’t even get you the right burger! I’m no good!” After a few minutes of intense sobbing, I looked up and he was just looking at me with big eyes. As you can imagine, it was quite an interesting and somewhat humorous display. Instead of screaming “What’s your problem?!? It’s just a burger!!!” at me, he came over, rubbed my back and told me it was okay. After a few minutes, I began to understand that my reaction was due to stress (a new semester was beginning which meant more school work and an increasing workload at my job). Now when I think back on it, I laugh. Yet, had he come back at me with a negative comment, a shout, or a roll of his eyes, I would probably look back on this situation with sadness. The situation wasn’t worth a fight. It was just an off day for me and he recognized that. I’m so thankful he did and that he continues to show me compassion when I’m having a bad day.
This topic is not an easy one for me. I am a creature of habit and when things change, it rocks my world a little bit. Eric is generally a rock. He is even-tempered and it is extremely rare that he has a noticeably “bad day” because he leaves his work frustrations at work and devotes his energy to home when he’s at home. However, Eric occasionally exhausts himself too. He often stays up late at night working on a project or reading. Eric has an amazing thirst for knowledge that I find fascinating. After several nights of staying up late, he begins to feel run down. It is hard for me to know how to react when he comes home from work and appears exhausted. He is usually a rock of strength, so my internal expectation is for him to always be that rock. However, I learned early in our marriage that it is not fair for me to expect that he never has a bad day. If I’m willing to show him compassion on the days that he is feeling exhausted or down, it reaps huge dividends in our relationship. After some relaxation and rejuvenation, he’s back to his old self and “normal” resumes. But, if I refused to approach him with love and understanding during those difficult days, it would likely lead to more difficult days.
Everyone wants their home to be a haven of peace and rest. Every man needs unconditional respect and understanding. Everyone woman needs unconditional love and understanding. If there is no bending in the relationship, cracks will begin to form. Understand that your potential spouse will be less than perfect from time to time and give him or her compassion and grace. Doing so will build trust in your relationship and assure your partner that your love for him or her is not based on his or her displayed performance.