Cooperation, Not Negotiation

Have you tried cooperation instead of competition in your homemaking this week? One way to remind yourself to use this tool is to post a note on the refrigerator in caps…..COOPERATE. Then, think about how you need to respond to your family members today.

I’ll tell you about how stress on cooperation is looking here. My husband works out of his home office next to the kitchen. Need I say more? Oh, between the laundry room and the kitchen. Then, he has at least ten projects going requiring multiple phone calls and service people stopping by. And this week is my once a year visit with a friend at Shakespeare By the Sea. My collie dog has stomach problems. I have a disorder causing me to go into sensory overload. My daughter is pregnant, feeling lousy and needs help with her three year old….Vacation Bible School at my church is coming up…

Bet you could write just such a list of challenges. The thing is… homemaking is not something about which we can say, “Done!” We need to cooperate, sure. But, I need more than one tool. And, I’ve been at this building a home for years now… We should remember that the basic principles don’t change even though the stresses do.

Did I mention it is John’s Reunion of his high school graduation class—this week? In town…for boat rides, old cars, receptions, and dinner. I’m trying to cooperate.

Cooperation implies a two-way give and take. It takes “two to tango.” Cooperation instead of competition in family life means to get along, to give up some of what you want and go along with the ideas, ways, desires, likes, activities of the other people in the home. Competition is more of a “I’ll give up this, but you have to let me do, have, be…..in return.” That is more like negotiation than cooperation. And what negotiation leads to is a lot of pulling, pushing, and demanding. Like business rather than a home. That unlying demanding attitude sure gets the deal done, but can wipe out loving, close relationships.

No one enjoys being pulled at all the time, so they just push back. Pulling leads to pushing. That’s no way to build a home. Ask any teenager who is pushed along to fit into Mom’s or Dad’s straitjacket. Or the wife who pulls away emotionally because her husband’s way is the only way. Or the husband who knows there is no use asking…

Remember the purpose of this blog? To teach the Christian woman how to think through the Bible, passage by passage. Normally, I don’t get into much else because I don’t want us to lose that focus. Today is different. This is all abou psychology. Some of it I read in “How To Love” by psychiatrist Gordon Livingston. He is against using negotiation in a love relationship.

As you are practicing using your tool of cooperation, lay down that competative one, think about our Lord Jesus Christ’s major teaching on relationships: “Love your neighbor as yourself;” …or Love your neighbor like you love yourself. As much as you love your ways, your ideas, your pleasures, your desires and activities, and even your work. Love is, after all, the major Christian virue.

About Carol Brandt

I earned a B.A. in History from Florida State University and M.Ed in.Higher Education from Florida Atlantic University. I taught high school social studies before "retiring" to full-time homemaking and raising two daughters. Now I love being a grandmother to four boys and a girl. I have also raised five collies. My husband, John, was an optometrist, who worked tirelessly for his profession through private practice and as a consultant, and served on the Board of Trustees of Illinois College of Optometry for twenty years. Ernest Reisinger was my chief mentor in this warm-hearted application of Calvinism. He gave me many books! The Founders Journal and Founders Conferences, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and Charles Spurgeon have been other sources of Reformed thinking as well as the other warm-hearted ones listed in my book, "Warm-hearted Calvinists."

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