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The List that Saved My Marriage

The List that Saved My Marriage

What an inventory of my husband's shortcomings taught me
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The day had come. I'd lasted as long as I could in my marriage. Once my husband, Bill, left for work, I packed a bag for myself and our 14-month-old son and left our home. It was the only year in our married life when we lived in the same town as my parents. Obviously the convenience of being able to run to Mom and Dad made my decision to leave Bill easier.

With a tear-stained, angry face, I walked into Mom's kitchen. She held the baby while I sobbed my declaration of independence. A washcloth and cup of coffee later, Mom told me she and Dad would help me. I was comforted to know they'd be there for me.

"But before you leave Bill," she said, "I have one task for you to complete."

Mom put down my sleeping son, took a sheet of paper and pen, and drew a vertical line down the middle of the page. She told me to list in the left column all the things Bill did that made him impossible to live with. As I looked at the dividing line, I thought she'd then tell me to list all his good qualities on the right hand side. I was determined to have a longer list of bad qualities on the left. This is going to be easy, I thought. My pen started immediately to scribble down the left column.

Bill never picked his clothes off the floor. He never told me when he was going outside. He slept in church. He had embarrassing, nasty habits such as blowing his nose or belching at the dinner table. He never bought me nice presents. He refused to match his clothes. He was tight with money. He wouldn't help with the housework. He didn't talk with me.

The list went on and on until I'd filled the page. I certainly had more than enough evidence to prove that no woman would be able to live with this man.

Smugly I said, "Now I guess you're going to ask me to list all Bill's good qualities on the right side."

"No," she said. "I already know Bill's good qualities. Instead, for each item on the left side, I want you to write how you respond. What do you do?"

This was even tougher than listing his good qualities. I'd been thinking about Bill's few, good qualities I could list. I hadn't considered thinking about myself. I knew Mom wasn't going to let me get by without completing her assignment. So I had to start writing.

I'd pout, cry, and get angry. I'd be embarrassed to be with him. I'd act like a "martyr." I'd wish I'd married someone else. I'd give him the silent treatment. I'd feel I was too good for him. The list seemed endless.

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Amy Brookes

September 17, 2014  1:00am

I needed to read this list...thanks!

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Lindsey Wilkinson

September 12, 2014  9:32pm

Brilliant list, thank you for sharing this with us. I'd just like to add that it's very common for couple's to seek marriage counselors when the relationship is on the rocks. After all, what better way to save a failing marriage than to call on the experts? However, marital therapy has been proven to have the lowest success rate of any form of therapy. That's not to say it definitely wont work, but there are definitely much more effective methods. If you can relate to this and feel like your marriage needs saving, there is a fantastic online guide called 'Save My Marriage today that I cannot recommend enough. Here is a direct link to the guide: http://www.bit.do/SaveMyMarriageToday


September 09, 2014  11:14am

I really wish that women would not be so hard and so cruel to other women. Shut up with all the putting other females down. Stop being snarky to our gender, I. also ask the Biblical wifey web sites who speak of surrendering, submitting, being at peace, respecting, and blaming to change your focus, stop deleting females who challenge you It is often hard for a wife to put up with the husbands' selfishness and lazy habits and then do all the household and childcare. In the media, Internet to magazines, to movies, writers often write articles that scold, blame, and demean women for trivial things like nag, but the same wifey sites, do not scold men whatsoever, in fact they defend men and their sins. And there are women that are so low self esteemed and gullible that they buy these doctrines. Stop accepting these writers' criticizing words to women. 9-9-14 Christian wife sites, please stop beating up and blaming other women. I could list you names and you know who you are.

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