My wife and I have said many times that we would love to go back to when we first got married and tell ourselves a thing or two. One of the things I would love to say to the young, even-with-more-hair, Ted is this, “Shhhhhhhh.” For example—
Grumpy Ted: I’m not a morning person. Early in the morning I can say things or respond in ways I regret the moment my coffee is working it’s magic. Over the last few years, I silently remind myself in the morning, “Don’t talk, or say very little.” It has saved my family and me from Grumpy Ted, the Ted nobody wants to be around.
Devil’s Advocate Ted: For reasons I won’t unpack here, I tend to be the Devil’s Advocate Ted when Nancie or the kids have a new idea. But several years ago, a dear friend told me he has decided to make his default response to his family “Yes” instead of “No.” When I apply this to my relationship with my family, I know they feel more valued and more excited to share their new ideas.
Sarcastic Ted: While I sometimes argue that sarcasm is a spiritual gift, it is wasted on my wife. After almost 18 years of marriage, Nancie still doesn’t get it when I am being sarcastic, and the times I am sarcastic never seem to take our marriage to a great place. She just doesn’t understand or appreciate sarcasm. So, I keep sarcasm to a minimum because I can’t live life without it—completely.
“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” (James 1:19).
I wish I had listened to James 18 years ago, but “Better late than never,” said Shhhh Ted.
After serving as the director of MarriedLife at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, Ted recently started an organization called MarriedPeople. MarriedPeople partners with Orange to create resources and training tools for leaders who work with married couples. Ted lives in Cumming, Georgia, with his four favorite people: his wife, Nancie, and their three children. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.