What’s Your Piece of Cake? - I Do Every Day - September 19

What’s your piece of cake? 

By Janel Breitenstein

Many things don’t come naturally to me: Coordination. Math. Directions. Skinniness.

But people, I can do. 

I fall just to this side of extroversion. In fact, I am told I can be charming. (Someone else might call it the “art of the schmooze.” But I digress.)

My husband, however, is an introvert. He loves people. But occasionally he enters the house after a day of work with that look on his face. It reads, My daily word bucket was full 4,679 words ago. I can have dinner, but I prefer to focus on my fork. 

After we got married, I tumbled into social settings as easily and pizzazz-ily as I always had. 

But at times, his silence would feel obvious. We’d wave goodbye at the end of a social function and I’d look at him with concern. You okay?

Over time, I learned how painful small talk could be for him, or how he dreaded social glad-handing. What came easily to me could be as fun for him as opening mail from the IRS. 

At some point, he asked if, instead of just sparkling socially, I could provide a way in for him. Maybe in those group conversations, I could ask what he thinks. Could I say people’s names and mention what I recalled about them, bringing him up to speed? Eventually, he gently mentioned I could slightly dim the 1000-watt social brilliance, creating a stage for more than one.

Initially, I had thought of my gifts contributing to our marriage in terms of, say, whipping up more than Hormel chili for dinner or managing a household like a boss. But I came to realize that even my people skills were a gift to benefit my marriage—one that could be a key to open doors not just for me, but him. 

Sometimes that meant I needed to dial back in order to let him shine, too. In those moments, I got to introduce the world to the mother lode of awesomeness I witnessed every day in the guy. 

Each of us toted gifts to the table of marriage—and could use them either to keep paving the way for ourselves, or advocating for each other. 

If something is a piece of cake for you, how can you make it a piece you can share?

Listen to how Karen and Crawford Loritts leverage their differences to make their marriage stronger. 

The good stuff: As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace. (1 Peter 4:10

Action points: What comes easily to you—and not as easily to your spouse? Maybe it’s connecting with one of your children, budgeting, or staying in touch with distant friends. What are three practical ways you could use your gift, not to leave your spouse behind, but share the wealth?

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