Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Spectrum Life and Relationship Lessons

"The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out."
Proverbs 20:5, ESV

As she lay there crying, he didn't move a muscle to comfort her. Without understanding, this could tear a marriage apart.

Before you judge, there is more to the story. More that the outsider cannot see. She married a man on the spectrum. He only responds to things he can fix. It isn't that he doesn't care. It is just that crying shuts him down. He cannot fix it so therefore does not know what to do.

He feels her hurt and empathizes but just does not know how to help.

Our hearts are so tricky. It is never okay for us to assume a person's motive (1 Corinthians 4:5). When one does not draw near, it appears they do not care. But that is assuming the motive. What if they cannot draw near? What if they don't know how? What if they only need to be taught? It is a man of wisdom or understanding that can and will take the further steps to draw the person out.

We must learn how to ask good questions in order to understand, especially if someone is on the spectrum. What we see on the outside is not always an indication of what is happening on the inside.

I also have a daughter on the spectrum. The same principle applies. However, the things that shut her down are not the same things that shut my husband down. Questions are the way to understand. If we truly love people, especially those who are different, we must give them the benefit of doubt and ask sincere questions so that we understand rather than assume.

When one is on the spectrum and they are found in Christ, the same Spirit lives in them. That Spirit is the one who works out the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness and self-control. What those traits look like on one person may look very different on the other. God makes no mistakes. When we seek to love and understand the differences we possess is when we really can love a person well.

In marriage, when a partner is shut down the other can try to help by trying to understand the behavior. Each party can die to self and learn to meet in the middle. All the Christian life is about becoming more like Christ. It is often that these times of discomfort are where God moves the most. So welcome them and seek to understand.

These times are also times of repentance. Times when we must confess that our way is not the better way. We must put our hope in Christ and depend on Him alone for all of our needs. He is our refuge, hope and help.

Father, forgive us for assuming other peoples motives. Forgive us for not taking the time to understand those who are different from us. Help us run to you for all of our needs. Help us to love others well and move toward others in grace and love. Help us possess wisdom to draw out others. In Jesus Name. Amen.