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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

"Do or do not. There is no try."

Yes, the headline is intentionally provocative. Stay with me while I explain why you might need to quit trying in your marriage. Trust me, I'm not talking about reaching for the escape hatch. Actually, it is quite the opposite.

I recently listened to a podcast by Michael Hyatt that resonated with me, and I thought I'd share it with you, because it has great implications for marriage.

Michael's suggestion is that we commit to eliminating the word "try" from our vocabulary. You see, the problem with "try" is that it leaves you an easy out, a convenient back door, a ready excuse for not accomplishing something. 

Compare these two statements that a husband might make:
  • "I am going to try to love my wife more selflessly."
  • "I am going to do whatever it takes to love my wife more selflessly."
If you were a wife, which of these would you rather hear your husband say? The second statement means he is all in; that he won't accept anything less than achieving the goal of becoming more selfless in the way he loves his wife. It represents comittment and determination. The first statement; not so much.

While putting away the word "try" from your discourse, especially where your marriage is concerned, may seem like a semantic game, I think it represents the state of mind you should have when you set goals in your marriage.

Do or Do Not

There is a great scene in the original Star Wars movie that speaks directly to this idea of not trying any more.  In the scene, Yoda, the wise Jedi master, is training Luke, the young and immature Jedi Knight. When Luke fails at a task assigned to him by Yoda, he initially wants to give up. At the master's encouragement, Luke reluctantly says he will try again. At his point Yoda makes his famous statement:
Do or do not, there is no try.
There is power in deciding to go for it. A 100% commitment to a goal creates confidence and inspiration in yourself and others. The truth is that failure is much more likely when you don't have a strong commitment. Settling in  your heart to accomplish something causes you to get creative and to seek alternatives to quitting when the going gets tough.

Tired of Trying?

Some of you may have been in long seasons of trying to improve your marriage. Some of you are tired of trying and tired of waiting for things to get better. Maybe you are in a largely sexless marriage. Maybe you are longing for your spouse to join you on your faith journey. Maybe you lack the emotional intimacy that you know is possible.

Stop believing in impossibility and start believing that in God all things are possible. God is the business of making the impossible possible.

Whatever the desire is, regardless of how long it's been, let me suggest you reset your heart and mind. Here are a few things to do:

1. State the goal in clear, try-free, I-centered terms

Create a statement that demonstrates your commitment to the goal. Include terms like "whatever it takes," "no matter what," or "until I see breakthrough."

Don't set goals for your partner. You have no doubt heard it said that you can't change your spouse. Since you are the only person in your marriage that you have control over, it only makes sense to set goals for yourself. Even goals for your relationship should be slanted toward your part in the outcome.

2. Define what it looks like

Relationship goals can be a bit ambiguous to define. Things like better communication, deeper intimacy and more selflessness are great goals, but they lack clarity and may not lead you to the specific steps you need to take.

So in addition to the goal, go into some detail about what having accomplished the goal would look like. Again, focus on your contribution to the goal and don't put a bunch of expectations on your spouse.

3. Commit it to prayer

Prayer changes things. Regular intercession on behalf of your marriage toward the accomplishment of your goal helps you realize that you are not alone in your pursuits.  Realize that God is for you and for your marriage. Submit your heart's desire to him in prayer, and listen to what he says to you about it. I believe God has divine strategies to impart to you.

4. Take consistent action

Look for every small opportunity to move toward your goal. Small steps, taken consistently, will get you there more reliably than the occasional giant leap. Yes, giant leaps can and do happen, but these are more likely to occur when you are doing the daily business of being faithful to what you committed to.

What do you commit to quite trying on? Leave a comment.

PS  If you want to listen to the original Michael Hyatt podcast for yourself, click this link.

Image Credit: Barron Fujimoto / Flickr


Keelie Reason said...

I completely agree! Thanks so much for this post.

David Carr said...

Thanks for sharing. I needed to read this today.

Kate Aldrich said...

This is so great, Scott! There is no try! Thanks for always sharing what God writes on your heart! Blessings, Kate

Loyalone said...

Great article. Thank you and felt the need to share that think about our marriage vows where the bride and the groom say "I do"... No one says " I will try" at that point. So facing struggles a Godly reminder is to bridge back to the vows...and do! There is no try...God bless you.

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