Let me illustrate. I have watched people be rude in relationships to the point where it eventually ended a friendship.
There have been marriages which were destroyed over time by a controlling spouse.
And there have been habits, or little things, that others have tolerated or perhaps been unaware of that led to a downfall.
So which is it? Are we good at ignoring, and thus tolerating the little things? Or are we rationalizing, which any of us have done at some point? Is it a big deal or is it no big deal?
Case in point. A few years ago I was having a cup of coffee at Starbucks with a friend. While we were talking an attractive woman walked in. No problem. The fact is a guy can’t not notice an attractive woman.
However, the guy I was with did not simply notice the woman. He turned around a complete 180 degrees in his chair to continue to look. Noticing is far different than staring.
Now that’s a problem. I did not say anything, but I could see the handwriting on the wall. That is not healthy. Some would say, “It’s no big deal–guys do that all the time.”
Two problems. That is rationalization and toleration all wrapped up in one. The Bible says that “The wages of sin is death.” In other words, sin or destructive habits must not be tolerated or rationalized. Because you will not like the end result.
That is sin’s ultimate end. Death or destruction. Over time I watched this guy’s marriage fall apart as he eventually went after another woman. As I think back perhaps I should have said something because I have been around lots of guys, but this was a first for me. Most married guys tend to be a little more discreet.
Think about it. Turning around and continually watching attractive women must have become such a habit that he no longer thought about it, whether I was sitting there or not.
Take inventory of your own life. What small things are you tolerating? Take action today before they destroy something tomorrow.
Recently I had coffee with a friend who had worked with Lou Gerstner, one of my favorite CEO’s. Back in the 1990’s IBM was about to go under. They reported the biggest corporate loss of all time, and Gerstner was brought in to restructure and rebuild the company.
While initially IBM was forced to lay people off, today they boast a workforce of 400,000 and the company is thriving. However, in the midst of the turmoil Gerstner fired the #1 producer in the company!
Why would he do that? Because the employee operated against the cultural value of teamwork. On a side note I totally understand. At New Hope Church we believe people are hurting and living with a great deal of stress. The church should be the one place they can come and be accepted and welcomed. If you have a hard time accepting everyone, then you would be uncomfortable in a leadership role at New Hope. One of our core tenets is a welcoming atmosphere.
Back to IBM. After they fired their #1 producer what was the fallout? There wasn’t one. The company never missed a beat.
Think about it. The #1 producer was not indispensable.
As Seth Godin said in his book Linchpin, “Every day, bosses, customers, and investors make hard choices about whom to support and whom to eliminate, downsize, or avoid.”
In most fields tenure is no longer a guarantee. You must show up every day living out the company values.
Perhaps now you know the answer to the question, “Are you indispensable?”
Is there a cure for the common cold? Well, not exactly. But we all wish there was. And there are some things you can do to prevent from getting one. If you don’t do those things, you are likely to get a cold. When do colds tend to hit you? At the worst possible time.
While Carol and I were in Rome, just before we were to come home, I came down with the dreaded common cold. Thankfully it was not as bad as it could have been and did not interfere with the things we wanted to do. However, I still wanted to be prepared in case it got bad, so I went to a local pharmacy and picked up some nasal spray. Fortunately, they had one bottle written in English so I knew what I was getting.
When I’m at home, my game plan for curing the common cold is to not get one in the first place.
Not long ago my son Gabe came down with a cold. Now, everyone in our house knows I get paranoid when someone gets a cold. Actually, they would say that paranoid is an understatement.
After all, I have to speak every Sunday and I want to be at my best. Plus, I just don’t like colds.
So in my typical fanatical fashion, I questioned everyone to check up on how often they were washing their hands. And I monitored what they were touching. I don’t even touch door knobs when this kind of thing hits our house!
To top it off, Gabe was banned from using my iPad. Yes, I go a little over the top. But, hey, I don’t get very many colds.
Sadly, most of us are not very fanatical about things that contaminate our marriages, our health, or our finances.
We could sit down and come up with a long list of things that destroy us and our relationships or our physical health.
Things like sugar, but who wants to cut down on sugar? And no one is touting it as a great food source.
I can’t believe how many marriages have been affected by an unhealthy overdose of sports. For many, sports is contaminating their relationships.
My spiritual walk with God can be contaminated by busyness, overcommitment, bad attitudes, and irresponsibility.
We could go on, but you get the point. Go radical on contamination. We allow way too many things into our lives that should not be allowed.
And don’t forget that even good things can contaminate. It could be a person, a food group, or a thing.
The bottom line is this: Are you taking contamination seriously?
One of the sad realities of many marriages is that the honeymoon not only ends, but often the marriage fails. To be fair there is no way that couples can adequately foresee the troubles that are just over the horizon.
Les and Leslie Parrot address four huge things that can destroy a marriage. Who expects infertility when they get married? Depression is widespread and can wreak havoc on a good marriage. What about a rebellious child? What about a disabled child? One of my mentors said that the divorce rate among couples with a disabled child is eighty percent!
The truth is every marriage is susceptible to being overcome by a number of things. It could start unraveling right after the wedding as couples learn to adjust to schedules and idiosyncrasies. When there are jokes going around about sharing the same toothpaste and how to unroll toilet paper, you know it doesn’t take much for problems to arise.
Marriage is like a vacation. They all start out well, but often there are flat tires, kids fighting in the back seat, and tempers out of control. Growing up my mother would pile all five of us kids in the car and we would set out for Arizona to visit my grandparents. When we left, mom’s purse was full of money. When we got home, we were eating crackers and drinking water and riding on fumes. We barely made it.
Sounds like a lot of marriages. The ones that do make it, barely do so. It doesn’t have to be that way. In this book, When Bad Things Happen to Good Marriages, the Parrots offer advice on getting back to good, overcoming the bad, and how to have a successful marriage.
Pick this one up. It is required reading for all married couples and couples about to be married.