Common Sense in Marriage?? But, marriage is too complicated. There can’t be a simple way to figure these things out. You need to have a specialist, a trained master with degrees and years of experience to even begin to unravel the complexity of issues that married couples deal with every day. Right??
Well, actually, no… That’s not right. Look at the dictionary definition of Common Sense: sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge, training, or the like; normal native intelligence.
Do we all have the basic skills to deal with the basic problems that plague most marriages? I think we do. Oh sure, we need to exercise those skills and develop them, but the basic skills are already available to us.
I’m reminded of a couple I met with over twenty five years ago. They needed help with their finances. His job only provided a minimal income and they always had problems meeting basic monthly bills. The financial stress was taking a toll on their relationship. They asked if I could help organize their budget because it was getting so bad that they didn’t even have enough money to buy milk for the babies. Wow, that must be pretty bad. There had to be something that could be done. So, with a pad of paper and pencil (yes it was that long ago) I sat down with them for several hours. We started with a detailed list of all their bills. Rent, car payments, food and utilities, insurance, personal items, child care expenses. Sure enough, the budget was tight, really tight. After a few hours, I noticed that I was starting to get a headache. And then I noticed that the room was filled with cigarette smoke. I don’t smoke and will usually get a headache from being in smoke for too long. Ah, I thought to myself. Another budget item not yet mentioned. I asked how much did they smoke and they admitted that they each smoked a pack of cigarettes per day. I asked how much does a pack cost? Well, about $1.50. (Yep, like I said, it was that long ago) Here’s the Common Sense part. At $1.50 per day each, that’s $3.00 per day. That’s $90.00 per month to buy cigarettes. I sat back and said that you do have enough money for milk for the babies, you’re just smoking it.
That’s my point. Sometimes the most basic, simplest solutions are right there in front of us. No specialized knowledge, no advanced degrees, no 30 sessions with a marriage counselor. Just good old basic Common Sense.
I don’t mean to imply that ALL problems can be resolved with simple steps. Some problems are indeed complicated and are quite difficult to resolve. But many of those evolved because basic everyday problems grew and festered until smaller problems added to other problems and then it grew into a mountain of problems. Common Sense: Deal with problems when they are small.
Next time: But what if we have BIG PROBLEMS???