Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Respecting Relationships

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14, NIV)

This June my husband, Steve, and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage.  Considering the strong, outgoing personalities we both have, this is nothing short of miraculous.  We have had many odds against us.  This was a second marriage for each of us.  And neither of our parents cared for the partner we had chosen as a mate.  Add to that miscarriage, infertility treatment, 5 stretches of joblessness over a 7 year period and 2 out of 3 children having serious special needs, and you know we have surely beaten the odds!

The question naturally arises, "How have you two managed to stay together all of these years?"  Anyone who has spent any amount of time with us knows that we are as imperfect as any other couple out there.  He's inconsiderate.  I'm cranky.  But there are threads of gold that hold us together in spite of that:
  • God is the third person in our marriage forever and always!
  • We apologize to each other daily...  Often multiple times a day.
  • We chose the above verses from Colossians for our wedding, and we try to live them out every day.
  • I joke, "We're lucky we found one another because nobody would put up with either one of us!"  That humor always helps me to remember for every time he gets on my nerves, I'm getting on his nerves too.  It humbles me.  And humility is KEY in a marriage that lasts.
  • Along those same lines, when there are times when we really don't like one another (and admit it, we all have them) we remember "God loves my spouse just as much as He loves me."  That certainly brings about a shift in perspective and an immediate attitude adjustment.
  • We each have peers of the same gender that support us in our role as a spouse.  When I want to act nasty like the world, I have Christian girlfriends who will challenge me to behave in biblical ways.  He meets every-other week for an early morning Bible study breakfast with the guys.
The bottom line is that we don't have the keys to the perfect marriage, but we seek first God's kingdom, and everything else falls into place. (See Matthew 6:33)  We're respectful of the value of this relationship.  And the love and respect we exchange is enough to cover over all of our imperfections.  (see 1 Peter 4:8)  That's enough to make any relationship, marriage or otherwise, endure.

Pray:  Lord, in this troubled world that changes like the wind, I want solid relationships that last.  Help me to love like You!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Barb, for sharing your story! It gets better every day EVEN in the hard times! I've been married almost 45 years. AND it's not always wonderful from one day to the next but it's always better and better when we step back and look at the trends! Besides that, God's walking with us - like you said - and THAT makes all the difference!
    Happy Valentine's Day!!!