OUT WITH THE JUDGMENT, IN WITH THE JOY!
“Take the word ‘should’ out of your vocabulary. Don’t say ‘should’ unless you’re looking in the mirror.” A wise woman once said these words to me, and I took them to heart. Or tried to. No easy feat, this.
I want to talk today about the dangers of “should” and those of “supposed to” as relating to marriage, or indeed, any relationship. I will try to avoid a rant, especially when I begin discussing my least favorite of all “supposed to’s”–“The man is SUPPOSED TO be the spiritual head of the house.” Oooh, I feel my blood pressure rising already, so let’s just back up and talk about “should” dangers.
We each and every one have full plates–plenty, plenty of things to work on in our own selves. But, alas, when a lass begins focusing on all those shortcomings of her mate (friend, sibling, parent, co-worker) her eyesight is adversely affected. She looks right over the running-over pile on her plate. To put it another way, worrying yourself about someone else’s faults will make you blind to your own. You will personify that person admonished in the Bible to get the giant plank out of their own eye instead of worrying about the speck in someone else’s (Matthew 7:3,4). Sounds like looking at someone else’s little faults actually gives our own room to grow.
And if this is not bad enough, when we zero in on another’s faults, their eyes become wide open to our faults! I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t need that.
Should-ing people is, however, a fine and sure way to decrease your popularity, in case you are that rare person who prefers being unpopular, who likes to be thought of as an ill wind or a foul odor. While I’m not overly concerned with popularity in general, I am quite concerned about being popular with my mate. It just makes sense to me.
OK, here we go with a cousin to should: supposed to. The statement, “The man is supposed to be the spiritual head of the household,” has caused misunderstanding, anger, and disappointment in more than one relationship. What in fact, does that mean, anyway? It depends on who you ask. These words, tossed about from preacher to congregation, from husband to wife and from wife to husband, mean something slightly, or radically, different to everyone. Often, however, they aren’t owned words–words taken in by the man and developed by God. Rather, they are thrown words–words accusing of shortcoming, of failure.
Wife and husband rarely see that statement in the same light, but neither do they communicate about their respective perceptions. So, as they become frustrated with each other, and as the children see their dad failing at this obviously all-important mandate, the water of family life circles the drain.
Like “should,” “supposed to” is a boomerang. When you tell someone else what they should do (unless of course, they ask for, respect, and desire your opinion, which they rightly trust will be delivered in love) you become blind to your own duties of love and responsibility, and you focus the eyes of your accused on your own shortcomings.
These behaviors put you in a place of chaos, a place where you step out of touch with God’s voice and plan for yourself, even as you interfere with what He may be trying to say to your victim. That’s right, I said VICTIM.
The bottom line is you are judging, and as promised, you will be judged, you will have a sad and sorry outcome. Just as a wise woman once said, “Take ‘should’ out of your vocabulary.” And as another wise (at least in this instance) woman adds, “Take ‘supposed to’ out at the same time.