Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Change and Marriage

Women marry men hoping they will change. Men marry women hoping they will not. So each is inevitably disappointed.
Albert Einstein

We see so many young couples launching their marriage. I just want to try to get in their heads and see if we can pour out all of their expectations onto the table. We all have this picture of what we think a wife should be, a husband, the marriage. But we seldom are able to accurately articulate it with the one we are about to marry. We think that love will conquer all.

Commitment can conquer all even when love has waned. How many of us are committed to the well-being of our spouse above all else?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Happy 21st Birthday!

Happy Birthday to our "baby" Jacque!

Parents have a child - feed, clothe, care for, love, and nurture the child. They listen for every little sound that may signal distress or need. They seek to protect the child from harm, teach her how to live and function in the world. They pray and pray for the child's well-being. They teach the child values and about God and His love for her.

The child grows up, goes away to college. They know she must find her own path, find her strengthens, her values, her likes and dislikes. She has to learn to live with other people, clean and cook on her own schedule, deal with the bureaucracies of a university. She keeps touching base for the guidance through the unknown spaces. They see her grow with confidence in areas and still see the timidity of facing hard places. But they love it that they can talk about thought-provoking concepts and have conversations below the surface, and yet still cuddle up by the fire and hold her as a child.

Blessings to our baby on the way to becoming a woman. We love you!

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.