The panic in me was real. I was laying back on a chair/table with sunglasses on my face staring up at 2 women wearing rubber gloves and talking about the rainy weather outside.
It was a routine operation for them.
But for me, it was an ordeal of being poked, prodded, and eventually getting one of my teeth removed (they used a fancy word: extracted).
The only thing I could think of was how stupid I had been and that it was way too late to turn back, I’ve made a terrible mistake. ABORT! ABORT!
This was really happening and there was no turning back.
After it was over, the dentist showed me the tooth (or what was left of it).
All I saw was this rotten, black gap, what a tragedy of a cavity!
It was more on the side of amazing that I survived having that tooth decay in the mouth for over nearly 5 years.
That’s where the ‘stupid’ thoughts came in.
I was stupid to put off going to see the dentist for 5 years.
I was stupid for wasting 5 years of excessive flossing, water picking, rinsing my mouth to get little excess scraps of food from my tooth.
But the 1 thing I didn’t do that would’ve made an actual difference was change.
I held onto my habits of poor eating choices. If you put a cookie near me, you should consider that cookie eaten.
I’m not sure anything could’ve saved my tooth honestly, but maybe I would’ve stood a chance with better choices.
Maybe some extra care and commitment could’ve helped.
Maybe just sucking up my pride, handing in my “man-card” and asking a professional for help.
You might be wondering, what does my tooth story have to do with the marriage lessons?
Marriage and teeth can have a lot in common but also some key distinctions. Read on to know about the marriage lessons I learned on marriage commitment through my tooth decay!
I’m the type who is reluctant to ask for help (my wife will vouch for this). I usually ask for help once I’ve experienced a minimum of a half-hour of “figuring it out” which involves me grunting, scratching my head, sitting, standing, huffing, puffing, oh my!
After those exercises of futility, I’ll ask her in my sweetest voice for help, she’ll solve the issue in about 10 minutes or less.
Now back to my tooth.
It rotted in my mouth for almost 5 years, the pain was unbearable at times causing me to lose sleep and cause me to complain constantly. Only then did I decide that enough was enough.
I’ve been a knucklehead and rejected the help from others because “I know already”. Just like I tell my kids “that isn’t true because if you knew then you would do”. Asking for help, no matter what the struggle is, can feel unbearable.
No one wants to be judged. No one wants to be humiliated and have something thrown back in their face.
Wouldn’t it have been way easier to not drink soda and juice? Wouldn’t it have been easier to not eat chips, cookies, and cakes?
Wouldn’t my life have been a whole lot easier if I had just done what I was supposed to do in the 1st place? Of course!
So, the magic question is, why didn’t I?
Am I that much of a rebel? Was this my way to stick it to the man? Of keeping my machismo?
This shows up in my marriage from time to time. It rears its ugly when I know there’s something that I need to do for my wife, but I catch that old rebellion bug.
It might look something like this:
“Honey can you help me do…? “I CAN’T, I’M WATCHING THE GAME.”
“Babe I really could use a hand with the kids” “SERIOUSLY? I’VE BEEN WORKING ALL DAY!”
“Boo how about a date night?” “YOU KNOW TONIGHT IS BOYS NIGHT ONLY.”
How much of that could someone take? How many times have you put your spouse on the backburner?
Instead of taking the time or making the small, itty, bitty, extra effort to spend time and prove your commitment, you wind up dropping the ball.
You cause the love and excitement to decay… kind of like a tooth (see where I’m headed with this?).
Watch this video to learn some more lessons on building a happy marriage:
I’ll lay it out in plain English. My tooth taught me to seek out a professional. At one point I gave serious consideration to yanking out the tooth myself.
At that point what did I have to lose?
My wife, being the voice of reason, came up with some compelling thoughts for me to consider.
There’s a chance that it could’ve cracked and not fully come out.
I possibly could have caused nerve damage. And I really don’t know what I’m doing and I’m not a professional.
So, I sucked it up and saw the dentist and they yanked that sucker out.
It wasn’t until the tooth was removed that I could see just how bad the cavity was and how much my tooth had decayed.
So often we can’t see our weak spots in our relationships too. Your spouse may not always be able to catch it and call you out on your B.S.
It’s not until you step back and look at it and get an objective 3rd party to give the eagle view of what’s really going on, can any real change happen.
So, when you have run out of your reserve of formulaic strategies to save your failing relationship, it’s best to reach out to a marriage therapist or marriage counselor.
Trust me, marriage counseling can do you a lot good just as the dentist did to my annoying tooth.
There are resources we have to offer to keep your relationship from decaying. That resource is a free 3-day video series, “H.O.W. to Support Your Spouse in 3 Easy Steps.”
This is a chance to step in the right direction and ask for help, to strengthen your commitment, and to seek expert support then this is perfect for you.
Let’s get your marriage out of a painful place and into a state of collaboration, integrity, and productivity. Don’t wait to get your marriage’s “tooth” pulled and see the love and support fade. Give it the care, the attention, and the energy it properly deserves.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Alex Dumas coaches married business owners to create a thriving business by making their relationship the priority. He and his wife, Sarah, operate Abundance Daily together and host The Business and Marriage Podcast.
When they aren’t serving other couples they enjoy time with their kids, their dogs, and their church. Learn more at www.abundancedaily.com.