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My (Shane’s) degree is in Marketing, and I love the world of marketing.  Not only do I love it, but I have learned a lot about marriage from working and observing the world of marketing.  This is another in an occasional series about what I learned about marriage from marketing

Does anybody have the recipe for Coke?  What are the original 11 herbs and spices that the Colonel uses in his fried chicken?  How does Dairy Queen get that trademarked Curly Q on the top of its ice cream cones?  What exactly is the “special sauce” on a Big Mac?  What all is in “Chick-Fil-A Sauce”?  These are all closely guarded trade secrets by companies.  Note that they are secrets.  From what I have learned from marketing, sometimes secrets are ok.

There are all different kinds of secrets.  A lot of them are bad.  A lot of secrets can hurt or even destroy a relationship.  But, there are some secrets that are ok.  What you buy for your spouse for a birthday.  A special plan you have.  Something you want to do for them.  Those are the secrets that can make a relationship better!!

Coke has secrets.  They have a secret recipe that is only known to a few people.  It is such a secret that, supposedly, they do not allow the people who know the secret to all be together, just in case something happens.  Well, I have some secrets too.  I have a secret stash of note cards that I can leave out when the occasion is right.  I have a secret stash of coupons that I can use when we need something for dinner and she doesn’t feel like cooking.  I have a secret stash of gift ideas, when I need something special.  I have a couple of books that give romantic ideas, gift ideas, etc, when I need a little help.  I keep a few secrets, but my secrets are designed to help make things better in our relationship, and to serve her.

What does he like, or what would she like.  What do you know about him that maybe he doesn’t even know about himself.  What kind of thing would shock the socks off of her.  Secretly plan it and surprise them.  Valentines day is a GREAT time to stock up on your secret stash.  Kids valentines can be a fun way to leave little notes around the house.  The day after Valentine’s Day, pick up some inexpensive stuffed animals (don’t get ones that say anything about Valentine’s Day, get ones that just say I love you), or small gifts.  Same with the day after Christmas.  Start a secret stash.  If you know a special meal he likes, make sure you always have everything for it, just in case.  If she likes a particular scent or perfume.  Always secretly check and find out when she is about out and buy some.  Surprise her with candles in the bedroom, without expecting anything in return.  Surprise him with lingerie under your regular clothes, when he doesn’t expect anything.  Keep a few secrets, and make things exciting.

There are other secrets that I would encourage you to keep sometimes too.  You see, after we have gotten really comfortable with someone, it is really easy to let our guard down, sometimes a little too far.  Your spouse doesn’t have to know every thought you have, or every complaint you have.  They don’t have to know every time they do something that bugs you, nor do they have to know each disappointment.  They don’t have to see you always in your holey T-shirts and worn out jeans.

Now, here is where things get tricky, but I am writing to adults, so I trust you can understand what I am trying to say.  Your spouse should be your best friend, your confidant.  They should be the person you can turn to with EVERYTHING.  They should comfort you with your disappointments and cheer with your victories.  But sometimes, we get so comfortable, we forget that they have feelings too.  Do they do that thing that bugs you?  You don’t have to tell them it bugs you, take it to the Father in Heaven.  Did you have a tremendous success, while they had a cruddy day, listen first to their cruddy day, put your good news on hold for a little bit.  Are you in just a bad mood?  What if you didn’t tell them at all, but faked a good mood all day long, not letting your bad mood affect them?

Have you ever noticed when you go to a lot of restaurants (I’ll pick on Chick-Fil-A today), they have a wall up between the counter and the kitchen?  You know they make great chicken, you know you love the taste, and you probably know how it is made, but you don’t have to see it, they hide it from you.  Have you ever noticed that when you thank someone at Chick-Fil-A for something they say, “My Pleasure”.  Maybe it is, or maybe they are having a hard day, but they have chosen to make it their pleasure to serve you.  I am certain, with all the chaos of the restaurant at times, they don’t always have a great time, and I am sure that things can be rough there sometimes, but they don’t tell us all the details, they are focused on us enjoying our meal.

Maybe we should be more focused on our spouse enjoying the marriage than we are getting “our needs” out of it.  Maybe we shouldn’t always be so transparent with every thought and every negative emotion and every irritation.  On the other hand, maybe we should be more transparent when we are sitting next to our spouse, and for no reason, we just well up with love for them.  Or maybe when we look at them first thing in the morning and remember what a beautiful gift they are from God.  Or maybe we should say thank you for a great dinner, or for going to work every day, or for cleaning up the 1000th mess, or for mowing the lawn, or….you get the idea.

Maybe we need to choose more what we share, and keep more of the negatives to ourselves.

Lots of companies have a reputation of having some things they don’t share.  They aren’t being deceptive, but they are keeping the mystery and the enjoyment of the relationship with their company exciting.  They are making sure you enjoy your experience with them, not always having negative feelings.  Maybe we should have more of that attitude with out spouses.

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