Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Marriage Threat #2

{Reflections from "A Weekend to Remember" Marriage Retreat by Family Life}

Threat #2: Our Culture's Pattern

A. Our culture's pattern is a 50/50 performance relationship.
1. Acceptance is based upon performance-"you do your part, I'll do mine."
2. Giving is based upon merit-affection is given when one feels it is deserved.
3. Motivation for action is based on how one feels.

B. Our culture's pattern (50/50 performance relationship) is destined to self destruct because of:
-My inability to meet all unreal expectations
-My tendency to focus on weaknesses in my spouse
-My disappointment in my spouse, which paralyzes my performance
-My desire to get revenge when I'm wronged
-The impossibility of knowing if my spouse has met me halfway

This may sound silly, but when I used to hear people say "I love you unconditionally" I just thought it meant that they loved me a lot. It wasn't until I understood God's love that I understood unconditionally means "without condition". I know, it's obvious. I'm slow to catch on.

I've brought that into marriage . . . to love unconditionally doesn't mean just love a lot. That's an amount, and that's not endless. Someday I may run out, especially if my husband does something to tick me off and my love tank empties a bit.

To love my husband unconditionally means without condition. I love him, I respect him, I serve him without condition. I love him regardless of what he does, doesn't do, forgets to do, or doesn't want to do. In biblical marriage, your love given isn't based on what your spouse is or isn't doing. It's given in response to God's love and grace for you.

We are loved by God without condition. Regardless of how we act, what we do, don't do, He loves us. Without condition. He loves me at my worst, and at my best. God loved me even when I didn't want to be with Him! He loved me when I ran from Him, opposed Him, hid from Him, rejected Him, and disrespected Him.

So it is with marriage. Culture tells us that people are to earn our love and respect. We love our spouse when they've met my needs and done what I've expected. When they don't, I can respond in anger and selfishness.

God's way of marriage is God's way of love . . . without condition. God's way of marriage isn't 50/50, it's 100/100. Both, all in, all the time, out of an overflow of God's love and grace for us.

Looking above, can you see some of the places you've been loving with condition?
-You do your part, I'll do mine
-This weakness you have, once it's fixed, I'll love you back
-You've hurt me, so I can hurt you (revenge)

Doing marriage God's way seems so backwards and so much harder than what the world tells us to do. Seek your own happiness, live for yourself, get yours! God says . . . seek your spouse's happiness, serve his needs above your own! It's the only way to true happiness in marriage.

Without Condition.

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