Hi this is Pastor Ken and this is my Monday Marriage Message…Heads I Lose, Tails You Win

The title of this entry probably sounded backward to you, because as children we often said it in reverse, trying to set up a situation in which we always found ourselves the winner. Stated this way, one is destined to lose. In my pre-marital counseling, I call this “learning to lose, lose well and lose often.” The idea comes from Romans 12:10 which says, “In love, prefer one another.” Preferring is not the same as deferring – we can defer for any number of reasons. But we prefer that our joy may be found in another person’s joy.

A quick example of this in my marriage happened early on as my bride indicated she was not a fan of NASCAR and hoped that I wasn’t either.  Upon learning I was, in fact, a huge fan at that time, she chose to purchase tickets to a local race and happily accompanied me to the event.  Her joy wasn’t in what we were doing, but in knowing how much pleasure it was for me to receive this particular gift.

The world’s wisdom would tell us to look out for number one but Godly wisdom says we look out for number one when we prefer one another.  Marriage is a spiritual experience, and therefore spiritual principles apply. If we spend our energy caring for the needs of our spouse, it frees them up to concern themselves with our needs. I understand, this principle flies in the face of worldly wisdom which would say this attitude will get you run over. I promise, this principle will not get you run over, it will insure you are not run over.

Think about your last disagreement. When your spouse was trying to help you see their way of thinking was right and yours was wrong, were you listening to what they had to say or were you thinking only of your response? When we are trying to win an argument or disagreement with our spouse, communication is actually hindered because of our perceived need to formulate a response. In contrast, if we do as the scripture suggests and we prefer our spouse, we can offer to lose. When we choose losing, communication opens up. In our marriage, we have key phrases that we have used so often the other recognizes when we are choosing to lose. I say, I don’t need to win; my wife says, I’m married to you, not my idea. When we hear these phrases we know the other has offered to prefer us and are choosing to lose. Invariably the next question that escapes the winner’s mouth is, “But what were you thinking?” and ultimately communication opens up. When we ask for someone’s thoughts we listen; when they are being forced upon us, we think of our retort. Trying to win closes communication down, choosing to lose opens it up. Proverbs tells us that the fool continues to say what he already knows, but the wise seeks to understand the other.

Consider this, it is what Jesus did for us.  Christ was in heaven, where I understand things are, well…heavenly.  He had no need to come to earth; we had need of him to come to earth, So, He lowered himself and came, and lived in the form of His own creation so that he could be crucified to solve our sin problem.  Jesus lowered himself to elevate us. He chose to lose, so we could win. His Word refers to us as his bride, and to Him as the groom.  From this, we gain a clear example, so that we can apply this same principle to our marriages.  Lower yourself to elevate your spouse, thus, elevating your marriage. You choose to lose, so you both can win.

Some of you will undoubtedly be wondering what you should do if your spouse isn’t willing to participate, to which I say even if only one spouse follows this example from scripture the marriage will be improved by 50 percent. In fact, experience tells me that if just one spouse begins to put this into practice with the right mindset, the Holy Spirit is able to use it very effectively to convict the heart of the unwilling spouse to begin to do the same. No one likes to sit idly by and watch someone else do what is right for very long. To do so simply makes their wrongdoing glaringly obvious, especially to them.

If we elevate our spouse, we elevate our marriage; if we elevate our marriage, we elevate ourselves. Learning to lose will always help you truly win.

Questions to answer:

  1. What are some steps you could take to elevate your marriage?
  2. As discussed here, is choosing to lose something you find valuable? How do you suppress your natural inclination to win in order to accomplish this?

Actions to take:

  1. Develop your own key phrases to signify your willingness to choose to lose.

So now, learning to lose, lose well, and lose often…so your marriage can always win…go be awesome!