by Rich Murphy
It's amazing how petty people who say they love each other can actually be in day-to-day life. Love, by definition, means that we prefer the other person over ourselves, putting them first, being willing to give of ourselves to them. Yet, in actual life, we often forget to do this, while expecting the other person to still keep us up on whatever pedestal we have predetermined in our minds.
How do we do this? By establishing double standards. What are they? Double standards are those times when we expect others to act towards us by a set of rules we don't fulfill ourselves. Any time we expect our spouses to do something for us that we don't do for them, or be something for us that we aren't for them, we are operating by two sets of rules.
Now, I'm not talking about each partner doing different tasks. In almost every household, there is a division of labor. One partner takes care of the lawn, while the other does the laundry. He might fix the car, while she takes care of the baby. Some of these are due to abilities, some natural bent, and some might just be traditional roles. This is not a double standard, this is just a division of labor. However, how we act towards each other in those tasks can be. If one cooks a meal grudgingly while expecting the other to do it with joy, that's a double standard.
Double standards are more about attitudes towards each other than anything else. It is an attitude of taking instead of giving. In fact, it is an attitude that is directly contrary to the way a Christian is supposed to be.
Double standards ALWAYS cause resentment in people they are used against. Let me say that again, because it's important. Double standards ALWAYS cause resentment in people they are used against. Resentment can cause bitterness, and in the end can actually destroy a marriage.
Men and women tend to establish double standards over different things.
With men, the most common form of double standard is over finances. They'll complain about their wives spending money on clothes, while they're spending money on their car, boat, or hunting equipment.
Women, on the other hand, build their double standards on relationship issues. They become instantly angry if their husbands do, or say certain things, yet do those same things to their husbands.
Double standards come from selfishness. It is the attitude that "I'm in this relationsihp to receive something from you. I expect you to meet my needs and desires, even though I'm not really concerned about meeting yours." That attitude is destined to cause failure in any relationship.
If you want a mature, healthy, happy marriage, respect each other. Don't do things from selfishness, and get rid of those double standards.
Copyright © 2000 by Richard A. Murphy, Maranatha Life All