People learn from one another, just as iron sharpens iron. ~ Proverbs 27:17, GNT
The Lord of heavenly forces proclaims: Make just and faithful decisions; show kindness and compassion to each other! ~ Zechariah 7:9, CEB
"If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet." ~ John 13:14, NKJV
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another." ~ John 13:34, NKJV
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. ~ Romans 12:10, NIV
Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly. Do not be conceited.~ Romans 12:16, NET
Talk with each other much about the Lord, quoting psalms and hymns and singing sacred songs, making music in your hearts to the Lord. Always give thanks for everything to our God and Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Ephesians 5:19-20, TLB
Bear with one another and forgive one another. If anyone has a quarrel against anyone, even as Christ forgave you, so you must do.~ Colossians 3:13, MEV
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.~ Colossians 3:16, MEV
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. ~ Hebrews 3:13, NIV
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. ~ Hebrews 10:23-25, NIV
With the stresses of today's culture, all the pressing demands, and a modern propensity to put self first, how does one also raise a challenged child with many demands while managing to keep their marriage together?
I would never profess to be a marriage expert. In fact, I would tell you that my marriage continues to limp along to this day. Yet, this week we celebrate the fact that we are still together after 23 years, against all odds.
Honestly, I don't think we would ever still be married without God as the third person in our relationship. And His "one anothers" are the critical commands that always manage to bring us back to our foundation.
I have listed above only a dozen of the many "one another" commandments that God gives as our recipe for successful relationship with other people. Imagine if every married couple merely worked on practicing one of those twelve at a time! In fact, they could just take one verse per month for an entire year. If each put in the effort to really obey those instructions from the Lord, I would be willing to bet that we would have incredibly transformed marriages at the end of that year.
While my husband and I are certainly not perfect, we do commit ourselves to this rigorous dance, always apologizing for our wrongs, and returning to God's true north when we deviate. Our 23 years together have been marked by serving one another, sharing our faith, offering encouragement, spurring each other on, and showing each other compassion. We learn from one another. When we go to the IEP meeting, he inevitably hears something I don't. In a medical appointment with me, he learns a whole new way of maneuvering the medical madness. And over the years there have been countless times where we have been shoulder-to-shoulder, us against them in a stance against professionals or family members who are less than supportive.
If we look at the mess and stress of raising a child with extra intense needs, we can always find a reason to shut our spouse out and walk away from the marriage. Over 23 years I could probably list for you many more reasons to leave than to stay.
Nevertheless, I can't imagine our lives without one another. It has been hard enough to bring up our 3 challenged children while living under the same roof. I can't imagine the stress of having to do this in 2 separate homes with even less communication. Even when our support of each other is less than perfect, it is still some support that neither of us would otherwise have.
Furthermore, the inside jokes, the back stories behind the battles, and the shared joys from the most minute progress are all simply too sweet for us to walk away from.
In the final analysis, we have come to learn that love is not a feeling so much as it is a repeated choice of self-denial. As long as we have that for one another, there is no reason for either of us to walk away.
PRAY: Holy Spirit, You alone are the glue that holds marriages together. Increase our concern for one another and decrease our selfish demands. Make us one even as You are One.
~ Barb Dittrich