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The Goldilocks Principle of Marriage

Too Little

When we think of ourselves too little in marriage, we do not give our full selves to God or our spouse. We withhold the fullness of who we are and in so doing dishonor God and cheat our spouses. This is often done under the appearance of humility. But it is a false humility. It’s an undervaluing of who we are as beings created in God’s image. It’s thinking of ourselves less than who God made us to be. It’s trusting our judgment over God’s.

Thinking too little of ourselves can express itself in a variety of ways:

—Being unwilling to communicate our true thoughts and emotions

—Pretending to be something we are not

—Expecting our spouse to read our mind

—Assuming we deserve to be treated poorly

—Excusing our spouse’s poor behavior as our own fault

—Exchanging genuine service for actions intended to earn the love of our spouse

—Refusing to believe we deserve the love and respect of our spouse

When we think too little of ourselves, a healthy marriage is not possible because we will never fully engage in the relationship. Our spouse will always be relating to part of us and not all of us.

Just Right

Whenever we think of ourselves just right in marriage, we understand our proper place within the relationship. Knowing we were created in the image of God, we understand our value. Yet understanding we are the creation and not the Creator, we don’t overvalue ourselves. This perspective breeds true humility. (See: What Men Can Do for Marriage)

A just right perspective expresses itself by:

—Humbly communicating through both listening and sharing our true feelings

—Feeling a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunity to give and receive love

—Showing respect at all times and in a variety of ways

—Continually learning how to be a better spouse and how to understand our spouse better

—Dealing with issues directly, but keeping them in their proper context

—Fully shouldering and sharing the responsibilities for making the marriage work

—Appreciating where the relationship is but always striving to get better

Seeing ourselves in the right context creates a climate in which a marriage can thrive. Both partners feel valued, grateful and empowered to create a meaningful marriage.

When it comes to marriage, are you too hot? Too cold? Or just right?

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Kevin A. Thompson is Lead Pastor of Community Bible Church, a multi-site church in Fort Smith, AR. He currently writes a daily blog focusing on leadership, marriage, and parenting (specifically parenting a child with special needs). Kevin is the author of Friends, Partners & Lovers and the forthcoming sequel Happily: 8 Commitments of Couples who Laugh, Love, and Last. Along with his wife, Kevin is co-owner of JThompsonMMC, a full service media and marketing company based in Fort Smith. He is a graduate of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and Oklahoma Baptist University.