You can be right, or you can be married; take your pick. — Dr. Kelly Flanagan, “Marriage Is for Losers” (UnTangled blogpost, March 2, 2012)
Dr. Kelly Flanagan, a clinical psychologist and writer, wrote a blogpost titled “Marriage Is for Losers.” In it, he wrote, “If marriage is going to work, it needs to become a contest to see which spouse is going to lose the most.”
A contest to see which spouse is going to lose the most. What would that even look like?
- When the baby cries, both spouses race out the bedroom door, bumping into each other and the hall corners, just to get to the crying infant so the other one can rest.
- Your spouse’s calendar and career takes precedence over your own.
- In the midst of a really bad day, you still seek ways to make life easier for your spouse.
- When flipping through Netflix and trying to decide between Sylvester Stallone’s 16th boxing movie or Rachel McAdam’s 17th romantic comedy, you choose as though your spouse is sitting next to you.
- When you are having a rough day, you seek ways to make the day easier for your spouse, not yourself.
Listen, Christ calls us to do most things backwards from what the world and your flesh are telling you. So if you’re going to make your marriage a competition, compete over which spouse will lose the most.
Major life decisions would be much less traumatic on marriages if each party sought to lose so the marriage would grow. I’m not saying to lie down and put aside all of your opinions. I’m not saying to neglect your dreams and hopes. I’m not saying to change your taste in movies. Simply put, become second.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:3-4)
Seek second. Choose to lose. In fact, become a real winner by choosing to lose every chance you get.
Lord of our Covenant, this is so exciting! I have multiple ways every day in which I can choose to lose. Remind me daily of my fullness in Christ and the filling of Your Spirit. For once I realize I have everything I need, I will be empowered to tend to the desires of my spouse over my own. Show me very specific ways You want me to do that right now, today. Amen.