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The Golden Rule

  • April 29th, 2010 by Pastor Darryl Curtis   |  1 Comment

An application of the Golden Rule is called the Thirty-Day Plan. The Thirty-Day plan came about from the fact that the questioner and their spouse became “enemies” when they disagreed about something and each wanted their way.

The Counselor advised the questioner to try the “Thirty-Day Plan”, which was to spend thirty days going along with any desire or interest that their spouse expressed rather than arguing or demanding to have their own way. The purpose was to determine whether being agreeable would improve the marriage. So, for thirty days, if their spouse wanted Italian food for dinner and they wanted Chinese, they should agree with the choice of Italian and see whether their acquiescence improved their marriage or not.

After being agreeable for thirty days the questioner was to report back the results.

Part 1

Gail said, “The phrase “sleeping with the enemy” so epitomized my relationship with my husband. The other night, after a heated argument, which I am ashamed to say occurred in front of my seven-year old, I decided to try the thirty-day plan.

“Our argument was about the fact that my husband was not hungry for dinner when he came home. I angrily said to my husband, ‘It you didn’t stuff yourself at lunch, maybe you’d be hungry for dinner.’

“My husband replied, ‘If you made me some breakfast, maybe I wouldn’t be so hungry and eat such a big lunch.’

“I was fuming. Why would a grown man expect me to make him breakfast? Of course, I love to cook and I’m good at it, but I wasn’t about to do it for him. He’s a grown man. He could do it himself.

“The whole thing was silly. It escalated into a screaming match over meat loaf and resulted in our going to bed with our backs turned to one another, and me having an angry, restless night.

“The next morning, I got up and fixed breakfast, not just for my son and me, but I also made a breakfast sandwich for my husband. Did I get a ‘thank you?’ No. He said, ‘Where’s the orange juice?’

“It took all of my self-control to not squash an orange on his head, but in keeping with the thirty-day plan, I bit my lip and replied, ‘We don’t have any orange juice, but we have cranberry. Would you like some?’

“He accepted, bolted down the sandwich, and was out the door.

“The next morning, I prepared a breakfast sandwich in the manner that he likes, and next to it, I placed a tall, frosty glass of orange juice. He came out to the table, drank the whole glass first, ate his sandwich and left. Again, no thank you.

“For the past couple days, as well as making him sandwiches, I’ve just tried to be nice, doing little things to lower the hostility level. This morning, after eating his sandwich and drinking his orange juice, my husband, who hasn’t kissed me in a month, planted a big smooch on my cheek and asked, ‘I don’t know who are you or what you did to my wife, but I like it.’

“It didn’t take thirty days. It only took four. Four days of dropping the battle lines and things are peaceful. By the way, he’s been hungry for dinner every night.

“Maybe there is a better way of settling disputes than being angry and arguing. It certainly didn’t hurt me to fix him some breakfast.”

Part 2

Dave began with the Counselor. “I’ve been married seventeen years”, he said, “I’m forty seven years old and have eight and twelve year old daughters. My wife and I have been together for this entire time, but there hasn’t been much to our marriage for the last six or seven years.”

The Counselor asked, “Why have you behaved less lovingly?”

Dave responded, “Lack of reciprocation. It seemed that I was always imposing on her; it seemed as though after she had the second child, she decided to no longer participate in the marriage in an intimate way. We never fight and we seldom disagree, but we just…the loving is gone. We’re committed to the kids, and we’re committed to the marriage, so we’re staying together. My question to you is; should we try to explain this to the kids?

The Counselor replied, “Absolutely not.”

Dave queried, “Even if they pick up on things?”

“Well”, responded the Counselor, “they wouldn’t ‘pick up on things’ if you two stopped doing things for them to pick up on. If you are actually committed to the marriage and to your daughters, then behave better.”

“Alright”, Dave said, “ But what about her?”

The Counselor continued, “Behaving better means that in spite of the lack of reciprocation, you are to behave as though you have the best marriage in the Western hemisphere in front of your daughters. Treat your wife affectionately and speak to her the same way. Come behind her at dinner and give her a little kiss on the head or on the back of the neck. That’s it. Don’t be demanding, but rather, be affectionate so that you daughters grow up seeing a husband treating his wife affectionately and their expectations of how their husbands should treat them will be correct.

“And don’t do this to make your wife change her behavior, because she may not. Do this because you are committed to your daughters. If you are committed to your marriage for the sake of your daughters, then you have to act like it although you’re not getting any.”

Dave responded, “Yes, I see your point. So I do this for my daughters.”

The Counselor continued, “Yes, because you exacerbate the damage to your daughters if your home is unpleasant and ferociously cold. You need to put in the effort to make the atmosphere pleasant, and you can do that all by yourself. You don’t need your wife’s cooperation. I doubt, however, that if you come behind her and just stroke her hair or if you’re going back to your chair at dinner and you give her a quick peck on the cheek that she is going to resist or get angry.

Dave considered. “No, I guess she won’t. That’s probably true”, he said.

The Counselor replied, “So behave in the way that you want the men that marry your daughters to behave toward them. Give your daughters a good example so they will know how a man is supposed to behave, whether or not it fixes your problem with your wife. You need to do the right thing whether you get any immediate gratification from it or not. And once your children graduate from high school and your job at home is finished, you will still be young enough to have a life if your wife refuses to have one.

“But that’s a long way away. A lot can happen in ten years if you behave well.”

“Alright”, said Dave. “Thank you very much.”

The most important person with whom to apply the Golden Rule is with your spouse. He or she may also be the most difficult person with whom to apply the Golden Rule, because you are so close and you have to give so often. But that is the point of marriage. Husband and wife can only become one by continually giving themselves to and for one another.

Luke 6:27, 31
27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

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One Response for "The Golden Rule"

  1. Biblical Counseling Center June 5th, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    The Golden Rule – Family Life Baptist Church Blog : the real is an excellent site and I have to say that I am really impressed.


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