Friday, July 16, 2010

Courtesy and Communication

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:3-4

Through 18 years of marriage, each summer Jim and I have take vacation time together each summer, even if that meant having a "stay-cation". Whether staying home or going away, it is refreshing to have vacation time.

Our family was blessed to go away on vacation a few weeks ago. In the excitement and busyness of preparing for a vacation, I was mindful that we were also quietly building expectations in our minds about the trip. What do I want to do? How do I want to spend my time? What am I looking forward to most?

Often, our expectations and desires remain unspoken. We have our own personal agenda in our minds and we go forward without discussing them with our spouse. This can meet with frustration, conflict and disappointment.

Before our vacation, I was reminded to ask Jim: "What are your desires for our time away? How would you like to spend your time? Is there something you are looking forward to the most so I can help preserve plenty of time for that? Where would you like to eat? Do you want to sleep in some days or get up early? What means the most to you for our vacation?"

Rather than just having our own agendas, we should discuss our hopes, desires and expectations and not keep them quiet. Talking about them and selflessly giving way to be sure each other's expectations are met is a beautiful way to demonstrate our love and respect.

Wisdom in communicating is a daily responsibility, not just a vacation courtesy. On weekends, I don't want to prepare a "Honey Do" list if I haven't asked Jim what he is hoping to accomplish over a weekend. Daily, I want to remember to ask "Is there anything I can do for you today? How can I pray for you while you are at work?" What are you hoping to accomplish?

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition....consider others better than yourself....look to the interests of others."
What are my spouse's interests and what is in his/her best interest? Even in the seemingly small things of daily life, we must open the lines of communication about expectations and desires with our spouse. Looking to their interests is a life-giving and selfless outpouring of your love.

Whether making big decisions or showing courtesy for vacation agendas, God's truth of doing nothing out of selfish ambition and looking to the interest of others brings forth fruit and peace in our hearts and lives. And on vacation...maybe some unexpected fun and extra-special memories together!

"For where you have...selfish ambition, there you find disorder..."
James 3:16

"Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain."
Psalm 119:36

We loving hearing from our readers! Leave a comment and let us know if you are having a stay-cation and relaxing at home or if you are going away this summer! We'd love to hear from you!


Kelly Combs said...

Sharon, this is so wise. ASKING what your spouse wants. We so often assume (esp after years of marriage) we can read the other person, and that is where we can get hitches in communication. Great post!

P.S. The flip side of asking is telling. We shouldn't expect our husbands to read our minds either, but tell them when something is important to us.


What a beautiful picture of marriage - especially in light of a vacation.

So often when we go away - we have our own agenda and ideas in our mind of what we want to do and see and never bother to find out what the other has in mind.

Letting God lead in all of that is key too!

Beautiful and practical post!

Blessings, Stephanie

Warren Baldwin said...

Excellent. This is one of my favorite passages (Phil 4).