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How I Learned to Say NO : 7 Things I learned from 7 Years of Marriage (part 2)


Thanks for reading part one of ” 7 things I Learned in 7 Years of Marriage.  Here’s part II:

4) learned that it’s okay to say no.

I am a people pleaser and always had trouble saying “no.”  This often left me feeling burnt out, resentful and taken advantage of. When we got married, David would often ask me to do things that inside I felt were just too much. And saying “no” was not an option for me. For example, being in charge of multiple church ministries, or having two sets of people over in one day was normal for us. I wanted to please my husband and be a good wife.

However, when the burden was too much to handle, I would feel resentful towards my husband. I felt he was putting too much on me. One day when I was complaining about how stressed out I was about the fifth event we had that day, he said, “why didn’t you tell me you didn’t want to go?” I said, ” is that even an option?”( Actually, I was more asking MYSELF that question than I was him.) He said, “yes, of course it is! No is always an option.”

So over time, through our marriage, I learned that it’s okay to say no. I learned that my husband still loves me when I say no. That his love is not based on how many things I do to please him. Or how many things I say yes to.  That he genuinely, honestly, just wants me happy.

These days, I am still very active in the church, but much less than I used to. I used to have a part in every ministry of every age that was English speaking. Now I’m focused on one or two. But those two ministries I find much joy and refreshment from serving in.  And I feel I am much more effective than when I was running around like a chicken w/my head cut off saying yes to everyone.

5)I learned self control.

Sometimes I’d  get in my car and realize that  David had forgotten to put my car key back in my purse after using it (which left me running back upstairs, with my shoes on, already 10 min late for work to grab it), or forget to add something to our family calendar only for me to have scheduled a client on that day, leaving me with an awkward situation. I, in turn, would text him a very annoyed message.  He’d get defensive, we’d be fighting over text (all I can say is WASTE OF TIME), and both our days ruined. Over what? A key.

The result was an aggravated and distracted  husband.  And me? I’d always end up feeling embarrassed (once I’ve calmed down), for freaking out over something very small.

So I learned. It took me a while, but these days,  I take a deep breath, and think to myself things like, ” I also often forget to put his key back”. Or “I know that my husband forgot to google calendar the conference, but knowing him, he will will not expect me to attend his event, it’s okay.” So instead of texting him “USE YOUR OWN KEY WHEN DRIVING MY CAR,” I can email him, “Hey, I noticed you often forget to put my key back after you use it. Put it back next time, k? love you.” He is much more attentive to a patient message than a psycho one, and I can exhibit grace (and mercy!) towards my husband. He is built up, I am at peace.