My daughter is a lot nicer and softer than I am. At seven years old, all she wants to do is make friends and have play dates. But, as she is learning, life isn’t always so nice. Some people are mean. Just this week she had a meltdown because two classmates were teasing her. So, her daddy and I stepped in to teach her how to speak up for herself. If bullies know they can pick on her, then they will continue. But if she doesn’t tolerate it, the teasing will stop. All it takes is one time to let them know she is not to be played with in that manner. One time!
Of course, I am not advocating violence, just a strong sense of who she is and what she will and will not tolerate. It’s no different in adult relationships; you get what you tolerate.
- If you tolerate abuse, then you will suffer at the hands of it.
- If you tolerate cheating, there’s no reason for your partner to stop.
- If you tolerate lies, eventually you won’t even recognize or expect the truth.
- If you tolerate secrecy, you will become paranoid and start snooping around like a crazy person.
- If you tolerate a spouse who doesn’t come home, you will spend many nights alone, possibly turning to the children for consolation.
- If you tolerate degrading language, you will get used to being called out of your name.
- If you tolerate laziness, you will work your tail off just to make ends meet.
- If you tolerate people interfering in your marriage, you will start to resent friends and family.
- If you tolerate any or all of these things, you leave the same legacy for your children.
But, if you speak up and demand to be in a relationship the right way, then you have a better chance of having the marriage and the respect you deserve.
Sometimes we are too soft and too nice when it comes to the things we tolerate. Requiring respect doesn’t make us mean or selfish, it makes us honorable. Consider, too, how we tolerate foolishness and then blame the other person. The longer you tolerate disrespect, the longer it will take to undo the damage. In marriage, there are some issues you can deal with over time. And then there are other issues that must be dealt with immediately. . . the first time. . . with honest and firm dialogue, and if need be, with wise counsel. We all know someone who tolerated bad behavior, hoping and praying things would change. You have to do more than hope and pray; you have to take action.
My husband and I are starting early teaching our daughter these principles on her level, so when she does have a serious relationship she won’t tolerate being treated less than a child of God. Instead, she will demand and receive the love and respect she deserves.
BMWK — Do you agree that you get what you tolerate?