It’s simple, things taste better when they are marinated. I found this out when I was a bachelor living alone cooking for myself. One day someone showed me the wonder of marinating my food. It changed me. My bland bachelor cooking days were over and I was better for it.
I also learned that it matters how long things are marinated. To marinade something simply takes time. You can’t just dip a chicken breast in a marinade sauce and then cook it. You have to let it sit, soak, saturate, and suck the juiciness of the marinade for hours or even overnight! Then when you take the chicken out to cook, you will notice the change. The smell, the color -- it's inviting, it’s fantastic, and you are now well on your way to a better, more enjoyable meal, albeit alone.
But now you are not alone. You will quickly find that it is not only chicken that benefits from the art of marinating, but you will find that your thoughts, your actions, and your decisions benefit from hours if not days of soaking, sitting, and saturating.
I find that often fights occur because words and thoughts are exchanged that have not been marinated in wisdom, love, and kindness. Actually, for some of us, we have marinated our thoughts in judgments, anger, and disappointments. The litmus test to this is how well our words and thoughts are received by the ones we try to feed it to. What are our spouse’s responses when we say something or “suggest” an idea during a heated “talk”? At best our words are bland and at worst it’s too harsh and bitter to digest. Perhaps it’s time that we learn to practice the art of marinating our words and thoughts before we try to feed it to others.
So what do we marinate our thoughts and words in before we share it?
As I mentioned above, there are three primary marinades.
Wisdom. Love. Kindness.
I know you have been wanting to say something to your spouse all night. I know you have been waiting to say something to him/her all day while at work, but instead of having it sit in a pool of anger or frustration, have it sit in wisdom for a while.
Ask yourself this question, “Is this a wise thing to say?”
Secondly, ask yourself, “If I say this and when I construct the words in this way, does it sound loving?”
And finally, ask yourself this question, “Is this kind, is it nice? How would I receive these thoughts if I were to hear them?”
Remember that the main ingredient to a loving marinade is Attitude.
and your attitude,
coats everything you say and do.
Your words will most likely be well received if they are marinated in kindness and grace.
Talk to others the way you want to be talked to.
As I leave you to practice this, I will say one more thing. I often tell couples to imagine themselves as their spouse’s coach in the game of life. Many times the things we say and ask are things we think are beneficial for our spouses. We have words, thoughts, and suggestions that are good for them, for the family, for the relationship - whether it be tasks they need to complete or things that will simply bless them! We think it is okay to say it however we like because the content is good or the intent and motive is loving. However, we find the way we deliver it often leaves our spouses hurt, shamed, and angry. Sometimes they will give in to the request out of fear or simply because they are tired of arguing about it. But it is here that I want to ask couples… "If you were the athlete listening to yourself as the coach, would you be inspired and encouraged to change, act, and/or engage in what was asked, brought up, discussed?" How can you better coach your number one star athlete? How she/he does depends so much on your coaching. They need you. You need them. So ask yourself, if my thoughts are not well received, perhaps I need to change my coaching methods. A good coach may be able to get what he/she wants, but a great coach can inspire someone to act on behalf of the team out of faith and love rather than out of fear and shame. A great coach has marinated their words in love.
I look forward to hearing about the great marinated discussions you've been having. See you soon.
Your friend and pastor,