Marriage Monday: Stamp Collecting

I can vaguely remember as a kid, people collecting green stamps. Does anyone remember those? When you shopped at certain supermarkets (or grocery stores, who actually says supermarkets anyway) or specific retailers, you would get these green stamps (aptly named because they were green and they were stamps). They would also give you these books to collect the stamps in, and you could bring them in to the green stamp center and trade them for a various assortment of goodies. The more stamps you collected, the more elaborate the item you could go home with. Some people would save their stamps for years and go home with televisions.

Nowadays, people still use the same gimmick, but the payoff is greatly reduced. Now, collecting stamps might get you a free ice cream at marble slab on your 8th visit or a free sweet tea from Mcalister’s Deli on your 10th trip. But hey, free is still free. So you might as well collect your stamps and cash them in.

While collecting stamps is great when you get free swag (I just love to say swaaag), it isn’t so great in marriage. What is that you say? You have been missing out? Your spouse doesn’t give you stamps to redeem for a free car wash, massage, or a night of dish duty? That isn’t the kind of stamp collecting I am referring to.

Stamp collecting occurs in marriage when our spouse messes up, and instead of letting them know, we put a “stamp” in our book. The next time they fall short, BAM, there goes another stamp in the book. We keep collecting stamp after stamp every time they don’t meet our expectations, let us down, or hurt our feelings.

Then one day, they make a mistake and we cash in every “stamp” we have been accumulating and unleash a fiery wrath down upon their head. Bewildered, they wonder why drinking out of the milk carton or putting the toilet paper on the roll backward is such a huge deal. They have no idea that we have been collecting stamps over the last weeks, months, or years.

Stamp collecting is a bad idea. If our spouses are doing something that bothers us then we must tell them. There is no way for them to fix it unless they are made aware of the situation.  Our spouses will lose every time if we expect them to read our minds.

When we collect stamps it also leaves room for bitterness to take root in our hearts. We stay upset with our spouse for things that are not likely to be fixed. Let’s do ourselves and our spouses a favor and have conversations as they are needed.

Keep collecting stamps and enjoy the free sweet teas and ice creams, but in your marriage just deal with things as they arise.

Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. –Ephesians 4:26

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

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