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Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Of all days to be stricken with a 24 hour stomach bug, it had to be Valentines Day!

I knew when I woke up something wasn’t right. I’ll spare you the details, but at one point I did wonder if it was the salmon from the local farmer’s market that had struck its revenge.

We had agreed not to exchange gifts, which is always hard for me, but our gift to each other would instead be to spend the entire day together. Pressing through my physical symptoms I was determined not to let them stand in the way of our Valentines Day plans. I struggled to pretend it was nothing. My headache could just have been one of my frequent sinus flare-ups. Right? I had arranged to have the day off of work, and after getting our daughter off to school, allowing Jenni to sleep in for a change, we snoozed a while longer together. I made us breakfast sandwiches, and we shared our quiet times snuggled together, reading and praying, before going on a walk at the local park, enjoying the gorgeous, sunny 60+ degree weather. Thus began the lovely first half of our plans for the day.

But I was on a pretty steady decline. We had lunch at Jenni’s favorite Chinese restaurant, where I managed nothing more than a bowl of wonton soup. Upon our return, I could do nothing more than fall into bed (alone), now with a small fever and all-over body aches. I was mostly passed out there until this morning, when I awoke feeling much better, although with lingering after-effects that vaguely resemble a mild hangover.

The other thing that was lingering with me earlier today was the disappointment over being so sick on what is (at our house at least) always a very important day. Then Jenni reminded me that even though it didn’t turn out quite how we had hoped, it was so nice and special to have the morning together, so relaxed and so close. I love her for her glass-half-full outlook on things. She also reminded me that we’ll have a lot of together time attending the LIFT worship conference together. It’s always a huge blessing when we can share in one another’s ministries, and it’s been probably more than ten years since we attended a conference like this together.

So I got to thinking how silly it is to be disappointed over one day that didn’t quite meet my expectations. The reality is that I have 364 other days in which to make up for it!

Disappointment Leaves You With a Choice

I won’t ask for a show of hands, but do you too sometimes struggle over what to do with disappointments?

Here’s what my little bout with a bug has taught me: If I let disappointment rule my way forward, it only extends the misery and prevents me from overcoming the circumstances.

I could choose to be depressed and miserable about being “robbed” of our Valentines Day plans, which would likely lead to Jenni and I spending the rest of the week disconnected and less intimate. Or I can choose to simply say, “It was unfortunate to wind up sick on Valentines Day, ” but set it in my mind to respond by making it Valentines Week instead.

Why should I let the consequences of the flu last all week? No reason.

So the next time you face a disappointment in your marriage, instead of letting the circumstances rule you, make a choice to compensate in the opposite direction of whatever caused your disappointment.
  • Have a bad date? Schedule another one (or two) and determine to make it wonderful.
  • Unhappy with the gift you received on the last special occasion? Decide to go “gift-free” next time and simply be together.
  • Dissatisfied with sex one night? Plan something special or different for your next encounter or see if you can set a record for most days of sex in a row!
  • Feeling bad about yourself for how you handled your last disagreement?  No, don't plan more disagreements, but go to your spouse, admit your mistake, seek forgiveness, and ask specifically how you could have responded better, more clearly or created less contention. 

Next time you are disappointed, determine to break the momentum of the disappointment by deliberately working in the opposite direction.


Strong Man said...

As always, very insightful.

Here is one of my favorite references on Opposition:

2 Nephi 2:
For it must needs be, that there is an aopposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

We can recognize opposition is a natural part of life--and embrace it as an opportunity to develop.

By the way--if you haven't seen MegaMind yet, it's another wonderful example of the ways opposition can help us grow.

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