Not too long ago there was a little rift between my wife, Marisa, and me. Although it had been going on for a few days, I thought she’d eventually tell me whatever was on her mind.

Well … two weeks later … Marisa and I were lying in bed about to go to sleep when I decided to bring it up. I rolled over and faced her, “Babe, are we going to talk about this?”

“Talk about what?”

“Well,” I said, “it just feels like there’s something going on between us.”

She sighed, “Oh, it’s nothing.”

I thought, If this is nothing, what will something be like?

After some prompting she continued, “I just don’t feel like I’m your friend. You don’t treat me like someone you care about. I don’t think you really care about me as a person.”

What about my needs?

Immediately I knew what my response should be: Ask Marisa to forgive me for allowing her to feel like that. But a nanosecond later, I also knew what I really wanted to do. After all, I was getting toasted in this deal. What about my needs? What if I apologized and Marisa didn’t reciprocate?

I hadn’t done what I should have done. And amazingly, I didn’t do what I wanted to do. My claim to fame was that I said nothing—I just shut my mouth.

The next day I was still thinking about what Marisa had said and wondered where she’d come up with that idea. I asked the Lord to help me respond appropriately … because I really had no intention of her feeling that way and I wanted to do the right thing.

Then I asked myself, “Jared, what advice would you give someone who came to you with this same problem?” I knew I’d tell him to go to her and say, “I’m sorry that’s how you feel. Would you help me be a better friend to you?”

Date night

That night I swallowed my pride and took Marisa out on a date. Sitting at a small table in Starbucks, Marisa asked me what we should talk about. I looked right at her and said, “I’d like to talk about being a friend.”

She looked up at me, “Oh, Jared, you’re doing a great job. Ever since our talk things have turned around.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My head was spinning. “I thought I was being the same idiot I’ve always been.”

“Oh, no,” she said with confidence in her voice. “How you respond to me, answer questions … it’s been great. You’ve asked me about things I’m doing … You’ve asked me about how I’ve been. It’s fantastic!”

Fantastic? I wished I’d known earlier that it was that easy to show Marisa that she’s my friend—someone I really do care about.

God tells us husbands to live with our wives in an understanding way. I can’t help but wonder: What would have happened if I’d never asked Marisa if something was wrong between us? What would have happened if I didn’t zip my lip … or take her out on a date? What would have happened if I’d waited for her to do something right first?

If we had both waited, who would have made the first move? Maybe nobody.

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