A few weeks ago, Bob and I participated in an Improv for Presenters workshop. I was surprised how much I learned about myself as it pertains to marriage and control.
The instructors presented us with various games and scenarios. We were supposed to completely let go and roll with whatever situation was given to us. The idea was for your partner in the exercise to help you. Your goal was to make each other look good. We were not supposed to try to retain control—but control was exactly what I could not bring myself to let go of.
The instructor began setting up the next scene:
“What’s the situation?
I called out quickly and loudly: “Going to buy a Halloween costume.”
I wanted to beat everyone else to the punch. You know why? Because I already had half the plot outlined in my head. If I had to start us off, I already knew what my character would look and sound like. I knew her opening lines. And, if I knew in advance what I would do, I would still be in control.
It reminded me of when Bob and I were taking ballroom dance lessons. I could replicate a routine the teacher had taught us. What I couldn’t do was truly follow. I heard it again and again: “Just relax and follow me.” But following meant giving up control.
And yet, isn’t giving up control exactly what God asks us to do—and in our marriage—in our relationship with Him? But we’re not sure what will happen if we give up control. We may not like it. We at least know we may not like the coming surprise. So we clench our fists and hold on because we’re pretty sure we know best. We can trust ourselves, right? That’s obviously a bad assumption when it comes to God. But even in our marriage—I can’t even imagine being married to someone who thinks they are right all the time. Ewwww.
In the last hour of the improv class, I confessed that I had been struggling the whole time with control and that I had been planning my course beforehand in clear violation of the guidelines. The teacher immediately announced that we were doing another round of the last game. He started us off and pulled me in. Each time I rotated out, he’d tap me back in again. I was quickly running out of ideas. Finally, Bob rotated in. He had not been my partner the whole class. For the first time all weekend, I relaxed and followed my partner’s lead. Maybe it was because I knew I could trust him. I knew he would help me. I knew he would try to make me look good. And it turned out fine. Nothing went wrong.
Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do for our spouse in marriage?
“Heavenly Father, help me to get over this foolish idea that I know better than my partner, my spouse. Humble my heart. When I am nervous about trusting my partner, help me to trust You because you are 100% trustworthy and always have my best interest in mind. Amen.”
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