So, the last few (gut wrenchingly difficult) days have been all about looking inward. Seeing the things in our selves that are less than perfect and trying to FIX THEM! Today, I am proud to say, is ..... yeah, more of the same ... sorry!
However, it is not quite as bad as I just made it sound.
Many people go into marriage with expectations. The problem with that is, most of those expectations are too high for ANYONE to reach. The perfect boyfriend becomes a little less wonderful when you realize that he has trouble hitting the hamper with his socks, the sink with his toothpastey spittle (gotta admit, that just made me giggle), the dishwasher with his dirty cup, or the top of the toilet with the LID! On the other hand, that sweet girl you put so high on that pedestal wile you were dating slipped off a little when you realized that she does not fold your socks the right way, doesn't vacuum NEARLY enough, cannot cook like your mama and doesn't really look like THAT all the time! These discoveries were inevitable, because our humanity is irrefutable. We cannot change it and we cannot shake it ... and neither can our spouses.
So, what do we do with this new found knowledge? Do we constantly throw it into our spouse's face that they are not perfect? Do we nag and nag and, um, nag them to change their ways? Or, do we allow them their humanity and not make them feel less because of it?
Because, ya know, that is what we are SUPPOSED to do!
Marriage is a unique relationship, created by God Himself, to unite two people in love and respect. We are meant to be our spouse's biggest cheerleader, strongest supporter and best friend. Home is meant to be the safest place for our loves to be. They should not have to walk around on eggshells, afraid to make a move for fear of being called out - again - for their imperfections! We are called to be the one person that our spouse can be the most at ease with. The most themselves with. Are you that person?
Because, don't WE want that too? Don't we want a safe haven to retreat to, knowing that we can be ourselves! And, knowing that that is something that we need, should we not want to give that to the one that we love?
There is an illustration in the Bible of this. Jesus, himself, told a story about the person who pointed out the speck in his brother's eye while failing to notice the log in his own (Matthew 7). How can we ask them to remove the speck and not expect them to want us to lose the log? Truth is, it goes both ways.
But, the other truth is, we can only control ourselves. We cannot control our spouse. Is that a revelation to you? I know that, at one time, it was for me. We cannot force our spouse to be or do anything at all. We can, however, accept them as they are and encourage them. And that is where change begins.
Let's face it, someone constantly on our case, nagging us about every little thing, only makes us dig in our heels and fight back. However, when someone who always sees the best in us, encourages us and LOVES US UNCONDITIONALLY, makes a loving suggestion for our own good, we just might listen.
The thing to remember is this - this dare is NOT about finding a way to change your spouse. It is about finding, in yourself, a way to accept them they way that they are! About loving them no matter what. And, most importantly, learning to encourage them in everything that they are, do and will ever be.
Treat that love of yours the way that you want to be treated. Love the way that you want to be loved. Encourage the way that YOU want to be encouraged - no matter what! The One who teaches us to love, told us, Himself, that THAT is the most important part of love.
See ya tomorrow!