All In


Communicating you’re all in to your marriage is just as important as being all in to your marriage.

Ok, I’ll admit it…

I watch professional poker on TV sometimes.  I am notorious for channel checking as I watch TV and every now and then, I’ll stumble upon a poker championship somewhere and I’ll watch. I love being able to know what all of the cards on the table are and watch how these men and women choose to bet — or not — by calculating the odds and watching the other players.

Now, if you talk to the players, playing poker at this level isn’t gambling. It’s math, statistics, psychology and strategy all in one decision to play or not to play. While I respect their skill, I doubt if I could ever convince my hard shell, “Amazing Grace” singing, go-to-church-every time-the-doors-are-open Southern Baptist mom that poker is not gambling.

With that said, there is one moment in every game that makes me lean forward and pay even closer attention.  That’s when a player goes “all in.” Going all in means a player is so confident of his or her cards (or their bluff) they push all of their chips into the middle of table.  They literally bet everything they have on the hand that’s being played. Talk about pressure and tension!

This made me think about when a couple exchanges their marriage vows.  Stay with me…

On their wedding day, with the saying of the vows and the exchanging of the rings, the couple symbolically tells each other they’re “all in.” Regardless of what happens from this moment on, we will risk everything we have to be successful in our marriage.

It’s the only way a marriage works.  The husband gives everything he is to the relationship and the wife gives everything she is to the marriage.  Without this total commitment, the marriage will fail.  Both spouses have to be sure of two things:

First, they are giving everything to the other.  Second, they are getting everything from the other. Even the perception of the other holding anything back can damage the relationship.

Did you pay attention to that last statement?

Even the perception that one spouse isn’t “all in” damages the relationship.

When there is the slightest suspicion one spouse is holding back, not totally committed, the other spouse will retreat in defending himself or herself . . .and this causes a small crack in the marriage.  Without attention, that crack will soon become an emotional Grand Canyon.

Communicating you’re all in to your marriage is just as important as being all in to your marriage. Now, here’s today’s test.

  1. In what way does your spouse need you to communicate that you’re all in?
  2. If you know, then do whatever it is.
  3. If you don’t know, then ask.
  4. Don’t ever let your spouse doubt your love or commitment.
  5. Fix small cracks while they’re still small.

That’s a lot easier — and a lot more successful — than trying to fill in the Grand Canyon of doubt.


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