IT IS WHAT IT IS: FIVE WORDS THAT LEAD TO HELPLESSNESS
“The opposite of Love is not hate. It’s indifference.” —Elie Wiesel
It Is What It Is: A phrase that seems to simply state the obvious but actually implies helplessness. —The Urban Dictionary
When members of the United States armed forces enlist, they do so by taking a solemn oath.
They promise to protect our nation from all enemies, foreign, and domestic.
This means that protecting what is near and dear means scouring our very own borders, to ensure that there are no threats to our country from within our country.
Determining who and what is a threat becomes much harder, and sometimes much messier, when those trying to do damage, look like us, act like us, and swear allegiance in the same way we do.
We enter marriage in much the same way, swearing by solemn oath to stay with our mate, ‘til death do us part.
Yet in certain ways, the soldier has developed a more faithful reputation than the spouse. (Ouch)
The couple vows to stay together through it all. Their stated goal is proximity.
The soldier swears to keeping the country safe, from any and all threats. Their stated goal is protection.
Think about it like this…
What would change in your household if you looked at your spouse and said, “I swear to protect our marriage from all threats, outside of it, AND inside of it.”
If more husbands and wives were willing to die to themselves for the sake of their marriage, we would have less dead marriages.
No one intends to get to a place where little problems go unchecked, big issues go untalked about, and major breaches go unrepaired.
You can become just like the soldier, who once was all passion, but was left high and dry too many times, underfunded, unnoticed and constantly having to get up to protect something that isn’t supporting you back.
If you’re not careful, you can lose your vigilance. You begin to:
- Put in your time and dream about what it’s going to be like when this deployment is over.
- Think of trading in what once caused you to reach for the heights of noble action for a white sandy beach and a margarita.
- Get so beat down, you don’t care like you used to.
When pressed on why your marriage is in the state that it is in, you embody the response that is not hateful, but is the opposite of love anyway. We begin to speak on the side of indifference.
The Tongue is a Flame of Fire
We make our rallying cry, “It is what it is.”
These words drive a passionate world up the wall.
They locate a person who has deserted their post, put down their hope, and has given up.
You think that speaking this out will somehow excuse you from all the work you need to do to defend, repair, and ultimately nurture your hurting marriage back to health.
They don’t. They become an apologetic band-aid over a gaping wound.
When those 5 words are used in your marriage, it is similar to throwing your hands in the air, shaking your head back and forth and professing your utter frustration.
You have stopped being a part of the solution. You have, even by apathy, become a part of the problem.
Nothing you can do will positively impact your marriage when out of your mouth comes, “It is what it is”, and you walk away.
You haven’t even spoken hatefully. You’ve spoken indifferently.
This can be worse. Think of how cold you must have become.
What are those words doing inside of you?
How is your soul and mind affected by these words?
Are you giving up hope?
Recently, I sat down with a husband and he explained to me some of the issues that he and his wife have been going through.
They weren’t easy, but they were overcomable.
After expressing all that was wrong, this forlorn spouse finishes his sharing with exactly the phrase I am cautioning you against.
“It is what it is, we just don’t see eye-to-eye anymore.”
To him it may have been a small statement, but to me it was a huge red flag.
These five words showed me that in his mind his marriage was over.
How many couples can relate?
Have you ever found yourself saying something similar?
- I don’t have to take responsibility for my marriage any longer. It is what it is.
- My wife/husband doesn’t care about me. It is what it is.
- Our sex life, well it’s not that great. It is what it is.
- The kids make it hard for us to connect. It is what it is.
- Work is so busy right now, I don’t have time for dates. It is what it is.
It may be easier to let sleeping dogs lie, but in this case, it definitely isn’t better.
There Is Hope
How do you navigate away from the still winded waters of indifference?
How do you once again pick up the pieces and guard what is good?
Don’t let your words set your compass to apathy!
Use your words to build up your spouse as you support and honor them.
Let them know you no longer just want to fight with them, but you are fighting for them!
You have to make the conscious choice to begin using words that build you and your spouse up.
- Marriage takes work and being able to communicate with your spouse is vital.
- Ask the questions, even the tough ones.
- Then listen and be prepared to respond.
This will help you to get back on the same page, get to know each other deeply all over again, and keep all the dangerous uncaring at bay.
Come join those of us who at one time looked at our marriages and thought, “It is what it is.”
But then we got up, got to work and starting declaring every way we could. “But it’s not what it could be.”
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