Don't Forget to Check Your Blind Spot!
Have you ever tried to merge and the second you go to change lanes all you can hear is the deafening sound of the horn from the car in the same lane that you were trying to merge into? Turns out there was a car in your mirror’s blind spot, and you forgot to do a quick check over your shoulder to ensure that you were in the clear. It happens. And thankfully, you and no one else were hurt.
Blind spots are tough. I mean…they’re blind spots. If we knew what our blind spots were, well then…they wouldn’t be blind spots. If we knew how to fix the very real issues that we face in our lives, there would be no need for therapy, or modern medicine—or God, for that matter!
To put it plainly, we all have areas in our lives that we don’t realize can possibly hinder us in some way. Some of us know that we suffer from walking in fear. Some people know they have issues with anger. Some may know that they can do better in areas of their finance, self-love, loving and respecting others, etc.
But, what about those areas that we suffer in that we don’t see?
What about those things that are holding us back that we don’t even think about?
Our blind spots.
Last summer, I was in the process of moving and we had to leave our house pretty much spotless when we dropped our keys off. Needless to say, it required a much deeper clean than I had been accustomed to doing at the time. I used to do a deep clean of my home at least once a month. Pull the stove back, pull the fridge out, get those fan blades, all of it. And I was so gung-ho about it too. Like clockwork.
But then, of course, everyday life can really get in the way and sometimes you just don’t feel like it. And I’ll be honest; between working full-time, being a wife, a mother, working out and all the things that come with living, sometimes cleaning the house is very much back burner. Now don’t get me wrong, I consider myself to be a clean person, but sometimes I do just enough to get by.
That’s when I do the surface clean. Just clean the areas that everyone will see and worry less about what they won’t. Now, there are those areas that I just can’t get away with not cleaning. If the floor is a mess, I can’t just walk over that and pretend not to see it. The dust is settling on surfaces, then I have to get that too. And that ring around the tub? Well, that will only get worse if I leave it sitting there.
But, what about those hard-to-reach areas? What about the food that dropped down in between the stove and the counter? What about the dirt that’s practically made a home behind the fridge? And the lint that got trapped in the dryer hose? Those…blind spots.
Marriage can become a lot like that. You start out so focused on one another. You’re so intent on making sure that you spend time, put forth the effort and making each other feel love. But then you have kids, you get promotions, etc. And the focus becomes less about each other and more about everyone else. You begin to focus on the areas that everyone else can see, and pay less attention to the things that get pushed to the back.
Our kids have homework and sports and….and…and…
Our jobs are requiring more of us, and overtime and…and…and…
Our church has another event, they need us to be a part of this ministry and…and…and…
Our favorite tv show is on and social media and…and…and…
AND…it’s very easy to get into a very real routine that doesn’t do much more than leave you both (husband and wife) as people that are just getting to the next “and”. You forget to make time. You forget to make each other a priority. And even though the love is still very real—still very much there—it’s kind of hard to see it because no one is putting forth a conscious effort.
Your marriage is on autopilot.
But even though we’ve forgotten about those hard-to-reach areas that are constantly collecting dirt and filth, it doesn’t mean it’s not hurting us. In a very real way, when we forget to do a deep dive into our marriages, that hurts us more often than not. Because our marriages aren’t as clean anymore and by the time we realize that we need to take care of this, usually someone ends up hurt and bitter, angry and unappreciated, checked out and…and…and…
It all comes full circle because we forgot to take a quick look into our blind spot.
The same way your salvation takes more maintenance than just going to church on Sunday is the same way your marriage needs more than just a date here and there, or a quick peck before leaving the house, or a text about, “Can you grab this on the way home?” type of thing.
When was the last time that you were very intentional about making sure your significant other knew just how much they meant to you? When was the last time you took the time to look up from your phone and not just tell your spouse you loved them, but tell them two or three reasons why? When was the last time you’ve gone out of your way to love them in the ways that they enjoy being loved? Did something they like? When was the last time?
If it’s taken you a while to answer even one of these questions, then I guarantee that once you pull back that stove, you’ll see a lot of dirt and dust bunnies piling up back there. And if you proudly answered that question, ask yourself did your spouse receive it? Or did you just do it to say that you did it—to check a box?
“Told hubby he was sexy today. Check!”
Your motives have to be just as pure. And you truly have to care. We’ve become accustomed to asking a question that we really don’t care to know the answer to. We ask people how they are feeling and if someone delves into real life, well then…they are just over sharing. And it shouldn’t be this way. We should care enough that we check our blind spots every chance we get.
Because here’s the thing, maybe no one got hurt this time and you nearly avoid tragedy, but what about next time? What happens if one of you does get hurt all because you didn’t do a quick check to see where the other person’s head was and how they were feeling? It can be hard to clean up—as many well know how hard it is to clean a stain that has been stuck on for some time. The aftermath is messy and can seem downright impossible.
So, if you are still reading, I urge you to check your marital blind spots. I’ve had plenty blind spots in my own marriage. I couldn’t keep blaming my husband. I had to know that it took two people to make AND break a marriage. His choices were his own that he will have to give in full account to God for. But I was not without blame, and I could not pretend that I was. I had anger. I used to throw and break things. I would nearly tear the entire house down in a fit of my blind rage. I had a terrible mouth that knew all the right (and by right, I mean wrong) things to say! I was not spotless in our marriage.
For years, I went without checking my blind spots. And sometimes I still forget. It’s easy to sit on your high horse as “the wronged” and sometimes it may feel good to be the one who didn’t do the worst thing. But it’s so very important that once you remember that this marriage consists of two separate people with their own ideals and identities, then you’ll remember that you, too, probably have something that could use a deep clean.
ACCOUNTABILITY IS THE WORD OF THE DAY!
Don’t be discouraged. Just get you a really good degreaser (Your Bible) grab a few towels (lots of fasting); probably need a broom and a mop too (much…much prayer). Ooh! A vacuum. (TIME) Because we have to get down and dirty to clean the cobwebs of our marriage. No more cycling through the “ands” of life. We vowed to God and each other that we would do this for life, so that means the “ands” have to become very much back burner and you both have to move forward to the most important space in both of your lives!
It may take some extra elbow grease to get that mess cleaned up, but it can be done. And maybe you have to go over it a few more times, then that’s okay too.
Go to couples therapy.
Go to one-on-one therapy (it is so important to know YOU outside of your title as husband or wife)
Have the hard conversations.
Take time apart, separately (You both need “me time”).
Spend time with just the two of you (HINT: The CHILDREN WILL BE FINE! And so will whatever other task is that needs to be done).
LISTEN to what the other is saying (You both have valid feelings).
Just be willing to put in the work and the fruits of your labor will yield a happy, healthy and thriving relationship. I promise it will. Even if you can’t see it now.
So, get to work. We’ve all got some deep cleaning to do in our marriages. I can’t be the only one, can I?