Devotion 8-4-21

Devotion 8-4-21

Mom cleaned Dad’s eyeglasses every morning for him.  Dad became very protective of Mom, driving her wherever she needed to go, sometimes just waiting in the car while she did whatever she had to do so he could drive her back home when she was done.

Their marriage wasn’t perfect; Dad could sometimes be short on patience, and that got even worse in his later years.  Mom had her quirks too, and over the course of their 64 year marriage, I know there were some challenging times.  But their loving commitment to each other endured, and it shone even more brightly in their last years together.

We often idealize marriage and create this picture in our minds of a relationship that is always easy.  A relationship in which we are always crazy about the other person.  Social media doesn’t help, as it is filled with images of what look like perfect families and perfect marriages.

But most marriages aren’t that way at all, and those social media pictures don’t tell you the full story.

In Adam Hamilton’s book, Words of Life, he said that marriage is a commitment we make not to always feel in love, but to always practice love.  It’s about blessing and encouraging our mates, even in seasons when we don’t particularly feel like it.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addressed adultery immediately after speaking on murder.  In that section, he linked anger and murder, and pressed his followers to quickly reconcile with others.  Speaking against adultery logically follows, because isn’t anger usually at the heart of any temptation to be unfaithful to our partner?  We resent them because they aren’t living up to our expectations of who they should be, and our marriage has lost its luster.  They aren’t like that guy in the romance comedy movie we watched, or like the woman we’ve become friends with at the office.

We focus too much on getting our partner to conform to our expectations of them, rather than focusing on conforming ourselves to God’s expectations of us.  We need to look to the Golden Rule, and work on becoming the kind of person we would like to be married to, rather than working to change the other person.

In last week’s Dear Carolyn advice column, a reader wrote in who was in the midst of a mental health crisis and unsure what to do about her marriage, which had become more of a business relationship, saying “there is no emotional or physical intimacy.  I don’t love him but we get along well enough.”

Part of Carolyn’s response was to say, “I think treating your (marriage) as a kind of romantic defeat is unfair to you both and unfair to your arrangement.  What I see are two people who get along – ‘well enough’ is more than good enough in a crisis – and can count on each other to hold the home together…Maybe it’s time to see that as a form of marital love.”

Love over the course of a marriage takes many forms and when actively practiced can overcome many things.

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