Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fireproof Your Marriage - Part 2

This past week we learned about the seasons of a marriage. There is the season of romance, reality and rebuilding. Personally I feel like my marriage can go through all these seasons in a single week! I think two of the most important lessons I have learned over the years are:

1. Love is not a feeling it is an action.
2. Love keeps no record of wrong.

Drs. Les & Leslie Parrot have done research on how couples argue. They have found that they are able to determine whether or not a couple will stay together based on how they handle conflict. I don’t have all the details to give you, but one of the most destructive things someone can do is keep a record of what you have done wrong so they can use it against you later. I have been totally guilty of this in my own marriage and only my husband could truly explain how hurtful and frustrating it is to have your own wife keep a log of every mistake you make. I can tell you that since I have really tried to stop doing this the way we argue has completely changed, and in fact we argue much less. When an issue arises we are able to focus on the issue and not something that happened last week or last year. After the issue is resolved we’re done. No hurt feelings, no going to separate parts of the house, no need to go to bed angry.

Love as an action is much more powerful than love as a feeling. Think about it…How many feelings do you go through in a day? I don’t want my husband to “feel” like loving me when it’s convenient. I want to “be” loved through his actions all the time. If you have children, the same is true. Children have the ability to take everything out of you, but the action of loving them couldn’t be more important. I tell my own kids that when they do certain things I don’t like. However, no matter what they do or have done it could never take away my love.

For those of you who may not be married or have children, you could be in a season with a parent or friend. I know I went through every season with my parents and fortunately now I’m in the season of romance with my mom. My love and respect for her is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. At this point in my life I find myself hanging on her every word.

As always Jesus is the greatest example. Jesus’ actions of love are never ending and He keeps no record of any sin in my life and reminds me I have no right to keep record of anyone else’s.

John 15:12-14 (NIV) My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fireproof Your Marriage - Part 1

We talked about submitting to our spouses and God this past Sunday.  It is important to remember that submitting is not a bad word.  We have turned submission into a one way street and many see submitting as being weak.  I can recall being in a family members wedding (over 10 years ago) and the person performing the ceremony asked what vows they wanted to use, to which they replied “Is there more than one option?”  There was an option that we all were shocked at.  The “pastor” said that most women were requesting to take out the part of the vows where we agree to “obey” our husbands.  This is a definite problem.

Have you been submitting to your spouse this week?  More importantly are submitting to God?  Have you been lining yourself up under your spouse and God?  Have you given up any rights this week to submit to your loved one?  Are you showing your husband respect or your wife love?  Showing respect and love can be easy or it can be very difficult.  It is easy when you ask the other person how they receive love or respect.  It is very difficult when you guess how they should respond to your respect or love.  Take the easy route and ask!

I remember so much confusion when I first got married.  I thought I was being very respectful, and he thought I was very disrespectful.  The problem is that I was showing my husband the respect I showed my own father.  Although both men in my life deserved and required respect from me, they wanted it in very different ways.  If I would have simply asked my husband how I could show him respect I could have saved myself a lot of frustration.

Maybe you aren’t married.  This series still applies to you.  We all have to submit to God.  We must all learn to submit to God’s will.  There will come a time in every believer’s life that God will ask you to submit to His will.  God may ask you to do something that is completely foreign to you, that is bigger than you think you can handle, or makes completely no sense to you.  At this point you will need to submit to the One who knows exactly where you are, what you are going through, and has a plan for your life.

Submitting can be hard at first, especially if someone has taken advantage of you in the past.  Know that God loves you and will never hurt you.  When you submit to the will of God you will be at peace.  When you submit to your spouse you will get the love and respect that you need.  What rights will you give up this week to show your loved one and God that you are ready to submit?