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Who Goes First?

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Last week I asked the question, “What can husbands and wives do specifically to proactively stay energized in their marriage?”

But before I get into the specifics of how to stay on the Energizing Cycle, I need to address two things that prevent most couples from moving from the negative (reactive) to the positive (proactive) in their relationship.

Due to human nature, it’s common for couples to play the “Who goes first?” game. In other words, a husband may feel that his wife should take the first step to be more positive since, in his mind, she’s the most negative. Likewise, a wife may feel that her husband should take the first step on the Energizing Cycle since – in her mind – HE is the most negative. Because neither wants to be the first to swallow his/her pride and take that first step, the Crazy Cycle continues to spin. Can you relate?

Here is how I answer the “Who goes first?” question in our conferences. Are you ready? The answer is: Whoever is the most mature.

Is this fair? No. But it makes sense, doesn’t it? If you are the more mature one (spiritually and emotionally) you have the insight and inner strength (through Christ) to do the right thing, even if your spouse doesn’t.

Warning: A mature person does not tell the other that they are moving first because they are the most mature!

The second reason why some couples never move from the Crazy Cycle on to the Energizing Cycle is they give up before they really start. They expect instant results.

Remember: Successful couples rebound quickly and start again. Unsuccessful couples get discouraged and angry and withdraw into stubbornness, refusing to start over.

I challenge you to be the more mature one in your marriage.



Emerson Eggerichs, Ph.D.
Author, Speaker, Pastor

Questions to Consider

  1. In your marriage, are you using one of these excuses to not be proactive?
  2. Are you waiting for your spouse, who you see as being a bigger offender than yourself, to move first?
  3. Are you giving up after a few tries when you don’t get an instant result?