Monday, November 30, 2015

Marriage Is Hard: Part 3 of 4 - WE'RE DIFFERENT!

One of you is a neat freak, and the other doesn’t worry much about a few socks on the floor here and there. One of you is a saver; one is a spender. One is always on time; the other is much more relaxed about the clock. One of you loves noise and energy and parties, and the other loves quiet time at home. One of you is creative and passionate, which is nice, but also prone to leave a trail of debris behind, which drives the other crazy.

Just as Felix and Oscar argued and battled all the time in "The Odd Couple," husbands and wives are vulnerable to Satan’s plotting to drive the tip of a crowbar into their differences and use them as a fulcrum to pry them apart. God made us different not to drive each other crazy but to enrich our lives and give us a bigger and wider and more interesting perspective on life. “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us” (Romans 12:6).

Manage your differences! Celebrate your differences! Do not allow Satan to manipulate you into arguing over them. How boring your marriage would be if you and your spouse had identical views and habits. Any fool can complain about what you don’t like about another person. It takes a Christian to celebrate the treasure you have in your spouse.
Funny . . . the more you do that, the more your spouse will appreciate you (and your quirks).

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Marriage Is Hard: Part 2 of 4 - WE'RE SELFISH!

Ever hear one of your friends’ say, “I have to take care of me for a change.” “It’s my time now.” “I need to be looking out for number one.” Unfortunately the people who say these things don’t mean Jesus Christ. They mean themselves.

Sinners like you and me do not need to go to grad school or subscribe to webinars on how to be selfish. We are born with software already installed and functioning. Our parents (hopefully!) slowly trained us to overcome that selfish streak and learn to share our toys, wait in line, take turns, and listen to the views and stories of others. It is embarrassing how fast those old behaviors come back under stress, and it hurts marriages.

Husbands and wives can drive each other crazy because they don’t notice things that are really important to each other. Both what they do and what they neglect can really hurt. Being self-absorbed comes naturally. Focusing energy and thought on other people’s well-being is learned behavior. It is Christ-behavior: “No one should seek their own good, but the good of others” (1 Corinthians 10:24). 
It is a major triumph of the cross when you think first, “What does he or she need?” instead of, “Here’s what I want.” It is part of the magic of the Christian way of life that when you put others first, your needs always get taken care of too. Always.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Marriage Is Hard - Part 1 of 4

Marriage Is Hard

Have you ever seen the sappy Ryan O’Neal/Ali MacGraw movie romance entitled “Love Story”? 

MacGraw played a character who was dying, and at her bedside, O’Neal, choking and tearful, said he was sorry.  MacGraw then unloaded a line that has done a lot of damage to relationships and marriages everywhere: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry!”

Apologizing is hard work. Apologizing and changing your behaviors is even harder and what makes it so hard is PRIDE. Dating and marriage always to some degree, involve each person’s struggling for control.  When your behaviors are driven by pride, you want to win every argument, always be right, see difficulties as your partner’s fault, bring up your partners’ admitted failures of the past, and explain away or deny your own sins and weaknesses.

You need other peoples’ input and critique to know how you sound, how you look, how your actions affect other people. In humility, realize that you are not quite as brilliant and as infallible as you think you are: “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” (Romans 12:3).

When your spouse has an issue with something you’ve said or done, listen twice and think three times before you say anything. It may just be, that the best thing you can say is, “I’M SORRY.”