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When I was in medical school doing my third year clinical clerkships, I worked in the ER of a busy, crowded city hospital. Good old Grady Memorial Hospital, in Atlanta, Georgia.
I can actually still smell the smells wafting out of the hospital cafeteria. But I digress.
While on-call with the medical and surgery residents, we learned about the “Friday night gun club.”
Members of this club would be brought to the ER on a Friday night. They would be handcuffed to a stretcher, with a police escort. When you asked them how they got this wound or that injury, the story would be some version of this:
“Doc, I don’t know what happened. I was just standing at the corner, minding my own business, when suddenly some guy came up and shot me.”
Of course, the point was that it was hard to believe!
The more likely truth was that the patient had made a series of not-so-hot choices that led up to him standing on the wrong corner at the wrong time.
Isn’t it the same with marriage?
Very rarely do big marital problems come out of the blue. Instead, what usually happens is that we make several smaller decisions that aren’t necessarily the best. And then they mushroom into something big.
What can we learn from those gentlemen hanging around on the corner block?
1. Don’t wait until Friday night rolls around. Persist in making good choices all week long.
2. Simple choices can yield big results. For my ER patients, walking away from those trouble spots would have been an easy action with huge payoffs. In marriage, simple things can also go a long way. An encouraging word. Time put aside for our spouses. A choice to speak, rather than to let the sun go down on our anger.
3. Follow through. Once you get a sense of what works well in your marriage, make a mental note to yourself – a checklist – to keep doing those things. A great way to stop going down the wrong path is to keep choosing a better one.
The take home? The steps to growing a great marriage are small but steady.
Try it out: Write down three simple actions that you know will have a positive effect on your marriage. Commit to carrying out one of them each week for the next three weeks.
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I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Please jump in and share!
Dr. Ann is a Christian M.D., wife to her wonderful husband, and mom to a terrific gang of three. At The Marriage Checklist Ann blogs about marriage, motherhood, and more! Ann blogs on Crosswalk.com, and has been featured on MichaelHyatt.com, BlogHer.com, Fox news, and Good Morning America. She loves that everyday, we can choose to take our best steps forward.
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Copyright Dr. Ann 2012
(photo credit: photo stock)