I want to begin with a parable, adapted from Benjamin Franklin.
One day, Reuben bought an axe.
His brother, Simon, said, “Reuben, can I borrow your axe?”
Reuben said, “No,” and refused his brother.
Then Levi, Reuben’s other brother said, “Reuben, can I borrow your axe?”
But Reuben refused Levi too.
Finally, Judah, the 3rd brother, came to Reuben and said, “Reuben, I have always been good to you. Please lend me your axe.”
But Reuben refused Judah as well.
Reuben’s brothers saw how useful the axe was to Reuben so they went out and bought their own axe.
One day Reuben was chopping a tree when his axe accidentally fell into the river. He searched, but he couldn’t find it. His work wasn’t done so he came to Simon and said, “I lost my axe and I didn’t finish my work. Can I borrow your axe?”
Simon replied, “No! You didn’t lend me your axe when I asked.”
Reuben then approached Levi and said, “I lost my axe and I didn’t finish my work. Can I borrow your axe?”
Levi replied, “When I asked to borrow your axe you refused me. But I’ll be better than you. Yes, you can borrow my axe.”
But Reuben was humiliated by Levi’s reply so he didn’t borrow the axe. Instead, he approached Judah. Judah heard what happened and when he saw his brother coming he said to him, “Reuben, I heard about your loss. Don’t worry. You can borrow my axe.”
Reuben hugged Judah and said, “Thank you for your kindness. But most of all, thank you for your forgiveness.”
It’s so easy to feel justified treating your spouse the way they treat you. But then you’ll be stuck in the same old relationship.
If you want to turn your marriage around, don’t treat your spouse the way they treat you; treat your spouse the way you want them to treat you.
Of course, that raises giant questions: “How do I do that? How do I do that when I’m so angry? How do I do that when they’re treating me so horribly? How do I do that when they’ve moved out? How do I do that when they’re having an affair? How do I do that when they want nothing to do with me?”
The answers to all those questions and all the other questions you’re asking about how to change a seemingly impossible marital situation are answered in the Marriage Fitness Tele-Boot Camp. Join me.
I was very reluctant to do the program, but I told my wife Michelle I would do it, essentially as a last ditch effort. It turned out to be one of the major things that helped save our marriage.
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