Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Marriage Mondays - Trust & Control

One of the first lessons I learned about marriage is the importance of grace. "Extend grace" is one of the most common pieces of advice aside from "don't go to bed angry." And that advice becomes extremely applicable as you are learning each other's habits and preferences, noticing what ways you irk one another, and what unintentional ways you can hurt one another. 

Another area where grace is helpful? When you write a post for your "Marriage Mondays" series on a Tuesday evening, ha! Such is life, yes? Good thing there's grace. ;)

Today's post has to do with the 4 legged addition that came into our family last week, and how adopting a puppy reminded me of a valuable lesson for not only marriage, but faith in general. 

We adopted our sweet Koby boy from Santa Barbara's Dog Adoption & Welfare Group. Our apartment has a strict 25 lb. weight limit (we were so relieved Koby met that requirement!), so after some failed attempts due to hesitation at how big a puppy would grow, we decided to keep our options open and look at some full grown dogs. The first one we spotted was a beautiful year and a half old spaniel / dachshund mix named Woody. 

He had a gorgeous, long-haired coat (something I'm a total sucker for), and a seemingly calm demeanor. He looked perfect for us! We were nearly ready to fill out the paperwork before an employee came over & gave us some fair warnings on some behavior issues. Woody had already been returned twice, and they wanted to be sure they found the right owner to ensure he found a forever home. 

As she explained to us the type of training and atmosphere a dog like Woody would need in order to thrive, she said something that really caught my attention and stuck with me. She didn't emphasize the immense amount of behavior therapy that he would need, nor did she drill us on the extensive amount of training we would have to give him; she said, "with the right relationship built upon trust, Woody will learn to feel safe & respect boundaries." {Or something like that.}

She was saying that relationship leads to obedience. And that concept has stuck in my mind ever since. 

We didn't feel in the right place to step into that role in Woody's life, but we have stepped into that role in Koby's life. And I'm so grateful for that employee sharing those wise words with us, because it has helped me focus on building a relationship built on trust with my pup versus trying to control him. And in doing so, we have seen awesome results!

It was this past weekend that I drew a connection between this concept of dog training, and having a relationship with God. It's not only dogs that require trusting relationships, but us humans, too! For so long, I struggled with obeying the Lord. Now, I can see a direct correlation with my obedience of the Lord, and my trust in the Lord

As I began to trust the Lord, I began to obey the Lord without a second thought. If I trusted Him, what reason would I have for not obeying Him? Why would I struggle giving up control to someone I trust? Just like a dog can relinquish control to a loving owner, I can relinquish control to a loving God. 

And ding-ding-ding! That's when this lesson related to marriage, for me. Because as one can imagine, sharing your life with another human being involves a lot of giving up control. You go from having total control of everything in your life, to sharing it. You share your finances, you share your time, you share your food. The chores you used to do yourself? The ones that you didn't even realize you were particular over? Yeah, you share those duties now. Sometimes, you do them your way. And sometimes, he does them his. 

I didn't think I was controlling before, but boy! Do I see it with new light now. It's something I'm consistently working on, how to surrender control gracefully instead of forcing my hand, and my way. 

So this lesson? For me, it showed that if I have a loving, trusting relationship, I can joyfully yield control. My dog does not fight me for control of his leash, does he? And just as I hold the leash directing him, I know Who holds the reins in my life. So whether it's yielding control to my husband, or yielding control to my God, either can be done when I remember how much I trust, respect & adore them both. 

And on that note, another guy I adore? Koby. Here's a video of our first week together as a family of 3, if you'd like an extra dose of cuteness for your day. :)

Happy Humpday, friends! Thanks for reading. It blesses me more than I can say!

1 comment:

Claire Branigin said...

He is a sweetheart! He's so bouncy and energetic. :) and it's amazing that he tolerates that little bow tie--we tried to dress up our humane society dog with a bandana for some pictures when we first got her, but she ate half of it in about 30 seconds!