Way back in the 1990s, someone said to me, “If your home office printer isn’t working, just throw it out and go buy another. Nobody fixes them anymore.”
Ain’t that the truth? I buy a “4-in-1” printer for about $100 and when it stops working, into the dumpster (or recycling) it goes!
Too bad, actually, to waste all those plastic parts and metal pieces. But, it’s the “way of the world.”
Sadly, the world seems to view marriages as home office printers.
Not working? Get a new one! Too hard to deal with? Dump it! Not running smoothly? Upgrade!
Recently, our oldest offspring, Kristin, my co-speaker at QBQ, Inc. and a mom of three—posted a 2005 wedding photo on her 10th wedding anniversary.
I immediately left this comment:
“Congrats to Erik and Kristin! You’ve just made it five times longer than the average celebrity marriage! Whoo hoo!”
Well, Karen and I will mark 35 years on Sunday, June 21.
Thirty-five years since my dad—Pastor Jimmy—married us in our Danby, NY church, built in 1813. Now that’s a building that has lasted. Just like our marriage.
Even though, to be honest, we are—what does the world call it?—incompatible.
I won’t detail all of our differences, since I did that last October on Karen’s birthday. Enjoy that post here: Relationships: Being Different is Okay
But I will say something that struck me the other day:
Where there is “incompatibility,” there is likely a lack of personal accountability.
That may offend some and I’m sorry. Yet let’s remember what Ben Franklin said: “If it hurts, it instructs.”
I can’t speak for other marriages—the ones that make it or the ones that don’t—but I can speak for ours.
Karen and I have good days and Karen and I have bad days—and we can characterize the difference easily …
A Bad Day: When we try to fix each other.
A Good Day: When we practice PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY and work on fixing ourselves.
Sound hard? It really isn’t. All one needs to do is ask The Question Behind the Question (QBQ).
QBQs like these turn “incompatible” into something possible, functional, enjoyable—and worth saving:
“What can I do to serve her <him> today?”
“How can I honor our differences?”
“What can I do to change me?”
And, what we call The Ultimate QBQ:
“How can I let go of what I cannot control?”
Not surprisingly, the good days—those QBQ-asking days—are always more fun than the bad days. And in our next 35 years, Karen and I want to have some fun.
So, if you’re like the Millers and don’t view marriage like a busted home office printer and want to make it work, ask QBQs and see the difference PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY can make!
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