Want to know the secret to a joyful marriage? Two words. “I’m in.”
Just before walking down the aisle 27 years ago, my mom (who you already know gave only the wisest of counsel) asked me a strange question. I mean, I was already poured into the white gown. The worship team music was already playing the latest Sandi Patti tune. Tom was somewhere in the building sweating through his rented tuxedo. And she asked me, “Do you know for sure that Tom loves you?” Geez mom, …duh. Mom continued, “Well if he really loves you, then I have one piece of advice: Never say no to him.”
Wait. Wha….? There was very little time to argue this point. My dad had his elbow poised and ready to escort me to the “have and to hold from this day forward” moment I’d looked forward to since age 4. I remember looking at Tom on the way down the aisle thinking, “Really? Never?”
Of course at the time I thought she was making some reference to the bedroom. But (and many of you are not going to like this) I have found that in pretty much every situation, saying “no” has never gotten me anywhere. Marriage works far better when you say yes.
Saying “yes” to Tom is so, well… Biblical. Look at Ephesians 5:21-33. “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church.” If someone loves you that much, you’d be a fool to say no. If you are truly “one flesh” then saying no to your spouse is like saying no to yourself. “Wives, respect your husbands.” Mostly that means letting him take the lead. Wives, let your husband lead and then respect his opinion enough to follow. You’ll put a huge silly smile on his face…and isn’t that what you really wanted…to make someone you love happy?
This advice isn’t for everyone. We don’t say “yes” to abuse, harm, or immorality. This is why my mom qualified the advice with “Do you know for sure that Tom loves you?” Without her husband’s love, a wife won’t want to say “yes” to much of anything.
Marriage isn’t a competitive sport. I think that’s why hiking together is so natural. No one is trying to win an argument. No one has to be “right”. Just follow the trail. (If you get lost, blame it on the map.) So next time your husband says “Let’s go look at power tools we can’t afford!” or “I’d like a Whopper for dinner, how about you?” remember to smile and force out the two words that will work like magic: “I’m in!”