Getting Rid of Baggage in Marriage
By Lynette Kittle
“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers” - 1 Peter 3:7
In the classic, Emmy award-winning Baggage episode of the TV sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond, Ray and Debra Barone engage in a 3-week-fight over who is going to put a suitcase away from a recent weekend getaway.
Sitting on the landing for three weeks, the couple is locked in a battle of the wills over who should be the one to carry the suitcase upstairs.
Soon, Ray’s parents Frank and Marie are involved in the standoff, each giving advice on how to resolve the situation, even though they have their own long-term unresolved issues.
Ray even resorts to placing smelly cheese into the suitcase before leaving on a trip, in hopes of driving Debra to carry it upstairs.
In the last few minutes of the episode, Ray returns from his trip with feelings of regret for the way he has acted about the suitcase, along with hopes of making up with his wife.
Still, in passing by the suitcase on their way upstairs to reconcile, Debra assumes Ray’s repentant attitude means he’ll grab it on the way up. But when he passes by the suitcase yet again, she decides she’ll be the bigger person and carry it upstairs, which sets off a whole new battle of who is going to be the bigger person in the situation.
Maybe at your house it isn’t a suitcase, but possibly it’s clothes left on the floor, or food left out, or trash bags needed to be carried to the garbage can?
At our house, my husband wouldn’t have thought twice about carrying the suitcase upstairs. Yet at the same time, he loves to use our air fryer almost on a daily basis. Often after cooking with it, he’ll leave it soaking in the sink with soapy water.
Because it usually requires some intense scrubbing of remaining food residue, it isn’t always the easiest to clean. So when seeing him using it, dread tries to creep up on me with the thought of washing it once again wearing on me.
Admittedly, I do sometimes ignore it, leaving it sitting in the sink with hopes he’ll come back and take care of it. It’s in those moments where I have to ask God to give me the right perspective on it and to help me submit to Him.
It’s where 1 Peter 3:1 comes to mind, “Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives."
Honestly, I’ve come to realize it’s really more an issue of my attitude about washing it, than the actual work involved because it’s not really a huge task. Rather than being thankful my husband has been thoughtful enough to put it in the sink to soak, I find myself dealing with unkind thoughts towards him. Ones accusing him of being insensitive and not caring if he causes extra scrubbing for me.
So, when accusations come, I ask God to help me see my husband as more important than myself. Like Philippians 2:3 reminds me, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”
It also involves checking my heart to make sure pride isn’t egging me on to be the “bigger person,” like Ray and Debra faced with the suitcase. But instead to see my washing it as serving God, like Colossians 3:23 instructs. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, iBelieve.com, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, Startmarriageright.com, growthtrac.com, and more. She has an M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as an associate producer for Soul Check TV.
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