It’s been hard to avoid all the talk about the economic “Fiscal Cliff” over the past few months. Going over this cliff meant a combination of higher taxes for everyone, cutting vital programs, and the continued deficit spending. While some action has been taken, major issues still remain that must be addressed in the next couple of months to avoid going over the cliff, which, the analysts say, will spell economic disaster.
We often just put “band aids” on our marriage problems as well and fail to address the major issues. We tax the relationship by always demanding more and more from our spouse; we cut important relational programs; and, we refuse to deposit more into our relationship than we take out, resulting in huge marital deficits.
As a result, we go over the marriage cliff. We make a wreck of a good thing, and we can even leave the entire relationship broken and in pieces at the bottom.
Here are 4 things the fiscal cliff and the marriage cliff have in common and what you can do about it:
1. The entire scenario is avoidable from the get-go
Elected representatives swear an oath to serve and put the interests of the people first. Married couples promise to love and put one another first. Remembering our vows to unconditionally love and serve each other “for better or worse” will help keep us from even approaching the cliff.
2. We empty the bank faster than we put capital in
Both the country and our relationships tend to practice deficit spending. Through our selfishness, unkindness, and thoughtlessness, we take more than we give in our marriages. We need to continually invest in our relationships and give more to our spouses by stocking up emotional capital with kindness, encouragement, love, gentleness, self-sacrifice, and self-control.
3. We cut vital programs
While some government programs should be cut, others may be important to the welfare of the people. In marriage, there may be some “programs” that need to be cut or reduced…especially things like television or technology that pull us apart rather than bring us together. But there are some things that should not be on the chopping block. For example, date nights. When was the last time you went on a date with your spouse? Don’t cut this; it’s a vital program. Go on a marriage retreat together. Attend church together as a couple. Cook together. These are the kind of programs that every marriage needs.
4. We put our personal agendas ahead of what’s best for others
Elected officials are supposed to work together for the common good of the people. Couples are supposed to work together as a team for the benefit of their marriage and their children. That means coming together and agreeing on things like finances, faith, and other family matters.
The solution to the many of the issues our country and marriages are facing lies in being selfless. Are we willing sacrifice individual wants and do what’s best for the whole? Are we willing to give more than we take?