Last weekend I was desperately trying to find a printer in my house that would...well...print.
For the love of Pete, it seems like when you need something the most, that's when it decides to take out on you.
Two identical printers - both clunked out around the same time period. I was determined to resurrect one of them if it killed me.
So with an unwavering faith and sweat on my brow, I fired them both up separately, changed ink cartridges, fiddled with belts, read the troubleshooting page in my manual, which by the way, does not help when a person is in pure "should have had something printed yesterday" mode. I loaded and reloaded software and finally, after multiple tries, got one of the silly things to work. Yay me.
All this to say that it took time and effort. A LOT of effort. I might even be guilty of losing my cool for just a moment or two, snapping at any innocent passerby. Sorry Rick.
Yet now, it is as it should be. Humming and zipping to the rhythm of the message being printed. All is bliss. Well, at least until it decides to get a paper jam or something.
With all that said, my printer escapade is a lot like marriage. Sometimes one or the other spouse just quits trying and flips up an imaginary sign that probably reads something like "out of order."
So what are you or I supposed to do when love has grown cold and the relationship suddenly comes to a screeching halt?
I think the first thing is to evaluate the situation. Just like me and my printer, I had to determine what caused the problem in the first place. In marriage it's no different. There are certain questions we must ask ourselves and be ready to find the answer. Such as:
1. Is my spouse under stress and if so, has he or she tried to talk to me about it? Have I truly listened?
2. Have I been so preoccupied with work, kids, Facebook, hobbies, etc., that I have neglected my responsibilities to my mate?
3. Does my spouse feel loved and respected as a person by me? Have I shown him or her unselfish, unconditional love without complaining, arguing or being asked to do so?
4. Have I made time for my spouse in the bedroom willingly without being guilted into it?
5. Have I done my best to set up regular date nights for just the two of us?
6. Have I built my spouse up by complimenting him or her on things he or she is doing well?
7. Have I taken time to help out where needed, even if that means to run an extra errand or help with the housework?
8. Have I put my best foot forward in keeping my appearance up just as I did when we were dating?
9. Have I always done everything I can to open up communication between the two of us?
10. Do I, and have I, regularly prayed for my spouse, and have we put God first in our marriage?
After evaluation, then comes a plan of action. Even if my spouse is acting indifferent, cold, angry, heartless, distant, or just plain mean, I still have control over who I become.
Make some changes. If, after reading through the questions above, you feel as if you have failed in some areas....change. Be different!
I remember back to our early days of marriage when Rick and I were having so many problems. Two things finally happened that helped turn our impending shipwreck around: 1) I put God first in my life, then 2) I allowed Him to change my attitude and response.
When I began to seek the Lord and He began to change my heart towards my husband, that's when my man began to take notice. I was no longer talking divorce or having self pity parties, but rather I was finding contentment and an inner peace, freeing me up to again experience that love I once had for him. Miraculous, but it can and does happen!
So that old printer...it still has some good miles left on it. Another person might have chucked it out and decided to find a replacement. Me, on the other hand, well...I was determined to make it work.
And it does. Very well. ;)