A pastor explained something to me years ago that was pretty simple. Should have figured this out on my own. There's a big difference in doing a good thing versus doing the right thing. Sometimes it's the same. Kinda like they told me in school about squares and rectangles. A rectangle is always a square but a square isn't always a rectangle. Something like that. The right thing is always a good thing but a good thing isn't always the right thing.
Example. I come home, the family is at the grocery store picking up stuff for dinner. I have the house to myself. The kitchen is a mess. In anticipation of the family returning home soon to cook dinner, I clean the kitchen. Even though email and the sofa and the Xbox are patiently waiting for me, I clean up the kitchen. Then hit the sofa.
That is an example of doing the right thing and a good thing. Wife comes home, pleasantly surprised. Life is good. Brownie points achieved. Yay me. I could do a good thing and still blow it. If she had asked me to clean the kitchen, and I didn't, that's bad. Ignoring a request from your wife is a bad thing. ( sorry if I sound like a preschool teacher here ) We are going to train our brain to do the right thing. Not just good things. Here's the difference.
If she asked me to wash the dishes, I could go in there with great intentions and wipe the counters. I could run through the house, grab all the dirty laundry and wash it. I could clean out the refrigerator. I could mop the floor. I could mow the lawn, wash the car, paint the house, cure cancer and save the world from imminent doom. I could do any number of amazing things, worthy of brownie points, and she would not be impressed. Even though we did a lot of GOOD stuff, we didn't do the RIGHT stuff. Most guys still don't understand this. We did something great, where's my pat on the head?
She comes in with groceries. Walks past all our achievements, and stares at a sink full of dirty dishes. She is not happy. Even though we may have just produced our greatest life's work, she isn't impressed. We sometimes confuse that response with not being appreciated. We sometimes make up pet names to mutter under our breath during those times. We sometimes get stressed enough to vow that we will never do anything for her again. We have those kind of thoughts. We assume we did something good, we should be thanked or rewarded. Yeah, like toddlers or something.
What does she expect from us? Why isn't she thankful? Because she asked us to wash the dishes. We agreed to wash the dishes. There are still dirty dishes in the sink. She is not happy. How is it possible that a few dirty dishes can cause so much stress in the house? Because it proves we aren't listening. It tells her that she isn't our priority. It tells her we will be good husbands, but on our own terms. We will do things that we choose or that benefit us. Not just because she asked or to be good to her. Doing good stuff is still good, but if it's not the right stuff, it's kinds the wrong stuff.
Does that make us bad husbands, monsters, for not washing dishes? Nope. It just means that we aren't listening. It means that we still have work to do, if we are going to become the man of her dreams. It means that we still haven't put her into the proper place in our world. She is that important. Every little thing we do tells her how we feel about her. Make it count. Watch for opportunities to do the good stuff. Make sure it's the right stuff.
You might want to read this one, too.No expectations