Sunday, February 19, 2006

Acceptance in Marriage

Having spent the last week studying the first half of Romans 15, I was thinking about what would happen if Christians applied Romans 15:7 to their marriage.

Accept one another, then,
just as Christ accepted you,
in order to bring praise to God.

Christ accepted us just as we are, no changes. He doesn't always like our behavior but it doesn't change His love for us. We don't have to clean up our act to come to Him. His overriding attitude towards us is love, not because of anything we have done, just because we are.

God says we are to accept "one another" in the same way He has accepted us. Even a step beyond, we are to accept because of and as an extension of His acceptance of us. The fountain of His unconditional love and acceptance has it's source in Him. The fountain fills us and flows through us to others.

Could we truly love unconditionally and not accept another?

When we talk about the "one anothers," we have seen eyes light up when they realize for the first time that "one another" starts with their spouse. What would it mean to accept my husband? I have come to realize that it means that I wouldn't try to change him. Women are really bad about trying to change their husbands, then being angry/hurt/disappointed/depressed when they can't. The reality is that none of us can change another person, period. Change is a work of God in someone's heart.

Of all the things about which I talk to women, this one seems to be the hardest for them. How can we give up on change? First of all, we pray. Then, I quit focusing on the negative, the things I want to change. I focus on all of the good qualities God has given my husband. I accept him as God's perfect gift to me, not based on anything he has done, but based in my confidence in God as a giver of good gifts.

Acceptance in marriage gives your spouse the freedom to be himself. He pulls the defenses down and lets you into a more intimate place in his heart.