A few weekends ago Denita and I attended Dr. Eric Thomas’ Thank God I’m Married Event here in Houston. I’m pretty sure you know who Eric Thomas is. He’s on every motivational video on youtube, and he’s famous for the words “when you wanna succeed, as bad as you wanna breathe, that’s when you’ll be successful.” He has a new tour currently where he’s traveling the nation spending time and talking to couples. He uses his fiery delivery to motivate and encourage them to reach “Agape” type love. We left the event with a new perspective towards our marriage and I want to tell you all about it.
Last week, we launched the first episode of the 2 Peas In A Pod Podcast. It’s a joint effort between Denita and I that will only succeed if we work well together at it. Just like with any team venture, it will require effective communication, a solid foundation, and hard work. Sounds a lot like marriage doesn’t it?
One of the key takeaways I got from Eric Thomas was that I should always give 100% effort. Now that’s nothing new but what he said afterward was the game changer. He said I should give 100% effort and not expect anything in return. “Come back with that ET” was what I said in my head. How can I give 100% and my partner is only giving 50%?
“Agape” love is how.
Look, I’m no marriage counselor and I don’t want to give marriage advice. I’m not even a year into my marriage yet so I’m no expert. But what I have learned and what I do know to be true is this: you don’t have to be an expert to teach someone something you know. Too many times we think we have to reach a certain status before we can seem credible. We never get over “imposter syndrome”. (google it)
Give It Your All Even When No One Is Looking
But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about giving 100% and not expecting anything in return. Why? Because the only person you can control is yourself. You can’t control your spouse, and you can’t control your business partners. However, your effort will be rewarded when you know in your heart you gave 100%. And this is where trust and faith come in. You married your spouse because you trust them. So trust and have faith that they’ll give 100%. You elected to go in business with this partner because you trusted them. So have faith that they’ll come through when you need them to. 9/10 times if you have faith that they will, then they will. And if they don’t, that’s perfectly fine too. Because you did what you could without any expectations anyway.
The Three Phases of Marital Love
Eric Thomas described marital love in three stages. He used the ancient greeks definitions of these stages and broke down the meanings. The first stage is known as Eros. It’s the honeymoon phase. The phase where it’s hard to decipher infatuation from real love. This phase also relies heavily on physical attraction. By his assessment, it is the most fragile form of love due to its’ reliance on the physical.
From there he went on to discuss the Phileo phase which is a committed and strong bond between you and your partner. The ancient greeks described it as a type of brotherly love. But Eric Thomas spoke about it being the phase that required needs to be met. In his words, it’s still a fragile stage because if our needs aren’t met, things can still get rocky!
The phase he motivated us and encouraged us to work towards was Agape. This phase of love is all encompassing and unconditional. It’s undying and battle tested. It allows us to not expect anything in return because this love is deeper than flaws, difficulties, mistakes, and physical. It’s a forgiving love and it’s fair. It’s the definition of what God is and what he intended for us to be. It sacrifices when it has to and doesn’t change for no one or nothing. It’s consistent and is gives 100% effort.
Running businesses individually and collectively have taught Denita and I a lot in just our first year of marriage. It’s taught us more about patience, understanding, expectations, and has tested our commitment to each other more than we could have imagined. I mean, we both work from home for Pete’s sake. Can you imagine being home together every day, all day? I love my wife but that’ll test any relationship!
To Wrap It Up With Eric Thomas
Just like anything that life has thrown at us, and like everything life throws at you, there’s always a lesson to learn from it. When we learn to love unconditionally and expect nothing in return, we’ll see the rewards of it. Whether it’s business, a relationship or at your job. Give consistent and 100% effort in everything you do and be satisfied with the outcome because you know you gave it your all.
If you have not heard ET speak live, I advise you to! His passion is recognized on youtube through his videos so just imagine how impactful it is in person. He had the whole crowd of married individuals revealing all of their flaws to a room full of strangers. He’s currently on tour so find out when he’ll be near you. It’s something I highly recommend. And of course I just ordered his book so I’ll be reviewing that soon.
If you have heard Eric Thomas speak let me know how its’ helped you in the comments below!
Until next time, Ramon Smothers