Tag Archives: love

Let’s Try Kindness

Let’s try kindness. Let’s simply try simple kindness.

I see too much of short-tempers and touchiness. I see too many relationships which could be heaven on earth, but which fall far short.  I have to watch while one hurts the other one seeming not to feel any empathy for the pain.

One person gives the other person a world of hurt when they could be enjoying a mutually loving and caring relationship. Offered happiness and unconditional love, we choose our personal agendas. I wonder what could we be thinking?

People take for granted that they’re going to be treated well while taking for granted the human gift that’s been given to them.

It’s hard to watch people lower the bar on their own relationship, as though the offender will benefit in any way. If the bar is lowered, it’s going to be lowered for both of you. Do you mistake forbearance and patience for a lack of feelings? Do you actually think that your partner will take what you dish out, and persevere in holding up his side forever?  You must think an awful lot of him; in fact, you must think he’s not even human.

Because any human being is going to get enough of being treated selfishly one day. He will then have three choices: he can decide to diminish so much that he’ll let you pummel him into a doormat whom you won’t respect, or he will decide not to take your garbage anymore, and give it back to you. Or he’ll decide that someone else will actually respect him and treat him as though he’s loved.

You say it’s because you can’t respect him? That only says something about you.

If you can’t respect someone who consistently treats you with kindness, sympathy, patience and hopeful attention, in the face of irritation, selfishness of feelings, and dismissal, and does not return anger for anger…you just aren’t able to respect.

And you are missing the obvious:  God has given you an unbelievable gift which you ought to treasure, and you are ungrateful.

What if, instead of looking for irritation, putting our personal agendas before other people’s feelings, and imposing on the other person’s patience and love, we decide to be considerate? What if we are simply polite (even if we don’t actually feel happy about it)?

What if we seek not to hurt even though we must pay the price of swallowing our selfish moods? How about if instead of serving our own childish feelings, we decide to serve the people God has chosen to be our companions in life?

What would we lose?

How about if the law in our houses, from now on, is kindness? What if we adopt a standard that even some people who never set foot in a church are able to pull off? What if we decide to expect kindness and love?

Because simple kindness is a shelter against all the troubles of life, and no relationship can withstand consistent unkindness.

 

This is a revision of one of my very first posts, and the recipient of my very first “like”.

 

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Atheists complain that God doesn’t force them to live in His presence forever

If we can work our way to God’s approval, why did Jesus die on a cross?

In the parable of the Prodigal Son, we see no angry judge, no distant law keeper. The son takes his share of the inheritance (while his father still lives) and runs far away, where he wastes all his gifts, his share of the riches his father worked for, and finds himself helpless and destitute.  Ashamed, he decides he will go back home and ask to be a servant in his father’s house. He decides that he has no right to call himself a son; he wasted this inheritance too. So he starts along the weary way home.

Meanwhile, his father is looking down that road, hoping to see his son in the distance.  He has no reason to expect it, yet he waits on that roadside. One day he sees his son in the distance, and he does not hesitate. He runs to meet him, he embraces him.  He calls him a son come back from the dead. With nothing but joy, he prepares a feast and a celebration for this son who has been restored to life.

The prodigal son brought nothing back home but his shame and humiliation. His bitter repentance. He had nothing to offer in order to buy his way back into his father’s good graces. His father’s response to his return was joy and acceptance.

We have to learn who we are, who He is, and what our real relationship with him is.

We can’t feel how ashamed we will be. We don’t see how humiliated we are. We do not reckon how bitter our repentance will be.

But the reaction to our repentance will be joy. Fellowship, sharing in the presence of our Father, living in his love.

You criticize a Straw God. You see Him as the distant judge, the petty scale-balancer, the angry destroyer. That is what we see if we’re trying to look at god in a mirror.

You omit God’s representation of Himself in His Son, Jesus Christ. The parable is from the mouth of Jesus. The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. I Colossians 1: 15

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1: 1-3

I and the Father are one. John 10: 30

Jesus chose to suffer the just recompense for offenses he did not commit. He paid our bill. He, the perfect penitent, had to do this for us. We cannot in our mortal life pay an eternal debt.

He died a torturous death so that we would not have to answer for our offenses, so that no one has to go to hell.

God …who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…1 Timothy 2:4.

Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? Ezekiel 18:23

For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live! Ezekiel 18:32

Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’ Ezekiel 33:11

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17

Does God force us to love him? He could, but he does not.  My atheist friends keep declaring that they would prefer his coercion to anyone having the free choice to suffer an eternity apart from God. Yes, atheists complaining that God doesn’t force them to live in His presence…forever. Oh, the irony and contradiction.

God created people in his own image, like him in this one of many ways: we have the power to choose. God does not violate that god-like feature he gave us. He prefers that we make informed choices, that we are self-determined, that we are able to create, imagine, conceive of things we have not seen. He prefers that, knowing all that we know, we choose to remain in intimate relationship with Him.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10

We love him, because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

We have the free will to determine our way. There is plenty of evidence that to choose to love him is not foolish.

 

Write Love on the Tablet

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.  Trust in the LORD  with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…

In other translations,”love” = mercy, kindness, grace.

“Faithfulness” = truth, or [shutting out all deliberate hypocrisy or falsehood].

The context of the passage is that this is God’s law.  His real law, the substance of His law.  Not what we call His law, the rigid and arbitrary p’s and q’s we had better mind, but the real meaning behind those commandments.

And it is a command.  Note the “Let…never”.  Other translations are: “Let not”…”Do not let.”  Meaning don’t miss the boat; do not ever allow love, mercy, kindness, truth, faithfulness to leave without you.  Keep them always with you.  Keep them where you will see them.  Be deliberate about it.

Why? Because by doing this, you will win favor and a good reputation in the sight of God and men. You will win favor and esteem…in the eyes of GOD and people.

In case you were thinking you would manipulate the approval of other people from whom you seek esteem some other way, such as worrying about how they think of you, playing a part or wearing a mask. In case you were operating under the illusion that you could ever make God approve of you by minding any set of p’s and q’s.

No, God approves when, out of trust in His say-so, out of humility before His wisdom, we live out our lives animated by love and faithfulness, mercy, kindness, grace and truth. Do this because He says so and trust Him for the results.  Don’t protect yourself in human relationships; make yourself humble and vulnerable.

The New Testament echoes the same thought in Galatians 5.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.   

Where do we acquire those good things like love and faithfulness?  It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit; we get them from God. And there is no law against love, peace, faithfulness, self-control. We are completely free to go crazy with these qualities.

The converse point I take from this is: if you are allowing yourself to freely practice the opposites of these qualities, you must question whether you belong to Christ Jesus, or at least whether you have crucified your own sinful nature with its passions and desires.  At the very least you should recognize that you are dismissing God’s clear urging to be motivated by His character; you are disobeying your Lord to whom you claim to belong.

You are being a hypocrite. You say and believe that you are walking in the power of God’s Spirit but you are actually being motivated by your own preferences and desires.

You are not keeping in step with the Spirit. Something else is driving your behavior, something other than God’s Spirit’s leading. Of course, you are not alone. This is a struggle we all live with. The point is to struggle, and not to let our ungodly desires have free reign.

…Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.  We need constant reminders.

Love, faithfulness…grace, truth…kindness…

 

 

For the Men in My Daughters’ Lives

The world we live in suggests, no, demands, that we conduct our marriages as though they are a perpetual power struggle. 50/50 and egalitarian marriages would have us counting beans and tallying scorecards the livelong day.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Real traditional marriage, not the caricature bandied about by its detractors, calls us to a higher place, and a better one. Love does not keep its eye on the balances to make sure my side of the scale isn’t heavier than yours. The Biblical model is one in which I stop defending my own interests and care more about my spouse’s; and care most about the sacred trust we’ve got called Our Marriage.

We are called to care for each other to a counterintuitive and astonishing degree. Self-sacrifice on both sides is the way of life called for in marriage.

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25

Lest you think this language is hyperbole, and that you probably won’t be called upon to put it into action unless you’re aboard the Titanic II, letting your wife get on the lifeboat while you remain on deck, let me assure you that you are living this every day. Or you’re not.

You are called to lay down your life for her, and she for you, every day.

As a wife I might do this by simply being kind and engaged with my husband when life is distracting and irritating. Or I might pour my effort into creating a warm and comfortable home, managing resources economically, doing my part in raising self-directed and wise children to adulthood, or promoting kind and considerate behavior. If you’re wondering why I call this “laying down your life”, you probably haven’t tried it.

As the man in the equation, one of the ways you can lay down your life is by taking care of your wife. Protect her, defend her. Speak up when she is disrespected. Your wife (or fiancé) is probably tough and tenacious, nevertheless, you ought to take care of her like she’s a fragile and precious treasure.

Protection is not based on the weakness or inability of the protected. We protect what we value. We protect our loved ones because they are ours; unique and irreplaceable.

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. I Peter 3:7

If someday you have children together, she will have the minute-by-minute responsibility to oversee your children.  She will be making decisions constantly on the minutiae of managing a household and X number of people all at various stages of development. At the same time, she must keep her reactions to the stress to herself, which requires wisdom, patience, perseverance, energy, selflessness. In practical terms she must think about them rather than herself throughout every day.

That last one is where you come in. Your responsibility is to think about her when she doesn’t have the luxury.  Guard her needs, her dignity, her health. You will look out for her while she looks out for the kids. Keep in mind that you must take this responsibility because she may not. Don’t wait for her to ask for help.

Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:33

You say she’s the strong one? The one with the ideas? A driven career woman? Your job description doesn’t change.

Let’s not join in with the world’s nonsense thinking. Don’t ask her to do your job and hers.  Did you think managing and physically maintaining a home, and nurturing and raising children was not a full time job? Did she have lots of free time on her hands with nothing to do? Was she not pulling her weight? Or was that job not meaningful enough?

Each couple’s response to economic reality is personal, and I won’t second-guess a working wife’s wisdom.  But neither of you should buy into the new paradigm that leaves unquestioned the premise that women’s lives are only meaningful when they contribute their share to the world of work.

Please don’t ask her to do her job, and expect her to earn her half of the economic partnership. One career added to a 24/7/365 task is more burden than you can carry; why do you expect it of the one God calls the weaker vessel?

Remember in what way Jesus Christ “gave up his life for her”, the church. The Church is us, all of us who believe in Jesus as the Son of God, the Redeemer who died on the cross as a substitute for us sinners who deserve the punishment. He who was without sin willingly became the sin-bearer:

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

He made himself utterly vulnerable; he did not protect or reserve himself.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth. Isaiah 53:7

He gave his life for her even when she didn’t understand or appreciate it. He did it because he had created her with infinite value and he had a claim on her; she was his. This was no selfish motive…her true home was with him, and to wander from home would be tragic and destructive for her.

He had created Her, yet he died to make her his own forever.

He gave to the uttermost; he gave everything for His Church, his Bride. What does this look like for a guy in his everyday life? How will you lay down your life for your bride?

Reducing Relationship

I have a husband who won’t let me get near the dishes lately. There are always a lot of dishes here, a lot, always. His reasons are clearly excuses.

In 31 years, we have not had Fight One over who works harder, whether he should help with the housework, or whose job it is to iron his clothes, mow the lawn or put the kids to bed. But it’s certainly not because we’re above such things.

We don’t do 50/50 here.

Did other people speak wedding vows which assigned domestic duties, and which spouse was going to be the primary breadwinner?  Because  to hear some people complain about the sorry thing called marriage, you would think that in their vows, they promised to model Ozzie and Harriet in their suburban 1950’s home. And they don’t want to, so away with marriage, that obsolete patriarchal engine of oppression.

We didn’t sign a contract outlining household duties or role requirements when we got married. We didn’t confuse our wedding vows with societal expectations or TV sitcoms.

What did we vow?

“Will you have this woman/man to be your wife/husband, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love her/him, comfort her/him, honor, and keep her/him in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her/him as long as you both shall live?”

“In the name of God, I, ______, take you, ______, to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.”

What we vowed may have been a slight variation on these words, I don’t remember. We knew what we were promising.

Notice that we both vowed the same things. There wasn’t the Housewife Version and the King of the Castle Version.

You’ll also notice that these vows are not limiting, but rather open-ended, except as to duration–until death. We were promising to love, to comfort, to be faithful.  We were not promising the nuts and bolts, the how we would achieve these abstract states of existence. We were promising to live the rest of our lives committed to and committing to one relationship.

A relationship has the potential to grow and expand, and to build toward almost infinite intimacy. To live under a contract would reduce our love to a pre-ordained set of boundaries.

On another front…

During my tenure as a parent, I’ve been advised by persons who are over The Age of Eighteen, that I ought not to tell adults what to do. All the advice-granters in the world would tell me to say: OK, you’re an adult now, so I’m not allowed to tell you what to do. In return, I give up caring whether you get yourself up for church, school or work. It’s your business and I’m not going to help you anymore. You’re not my responsibility.

There is certainly truth in there. My role as a Mom changes as my child matures and I do have to increasingly step back and let him make decisions, and let him live with the way those decisions play out. I’m fine with Mr. Experience  teaching her the responsibilities of adulthood. And I’m not above feeling a tiny bit of pleasure when an “I told you so” would be a legally appropriate thing to say.

But relationships are not contracts. A contract spells out what I am, and am not, responsible for. Beyond the requirements of a contract one does not go. A contract limits my actions.

When we had a young teenager who was self-willed and apparently in danger of going off the rails, the going advice was to put the relationship under contract.  This is what’s expected of you, Teenager.  And if you commit these crimes, here is a handy list of the corresponding consequences. Now you know what to expect. 

It was an invitation not to be resisted. And because our children are creative people, it was unresisted very creatively. There was no instance in which he/she committed Offense X and therefore was liable for Consequence X.  It was never that simple.

Because they don’t just want to do X and get away with it; the goal is to confound your attempts to be the authority in the first place. They want to mess with you. It’s all about the relationship, and the rebellious child knows that better than you do.

Contracts and legal agreements reduce a relationship to that which is spelled out therein. Do we really want our family relationships lived via contractual agreement?

Relationships are not contractually binding; relationships supersede contracts. My behavior toward those I love aren’t limited by the letter of the law. Or so says The Author of Relationships:

Romans 12:10 “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

John 15:12-13 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Romans 12:8 “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”

“We love him, because he first loved us.”  1 John 4:19

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”   I Peter 4:8.

Relationships with human beings are infinitely more binding than legal agreements. We are accountable to love one another. To act on their behalf toward their good, even and especially when they aren’t able to appreciate the help, even and especially when we don’t think we have the strength to do it, even and especially when we feel like doing the opposite.

According to J.Budziszewski, “Love is a commitment of the will to the true good of the other person.”

I want to relate to people in my life according to love and grace, not according to a reductive contractual agreement.  At times, I must borrow heavily from an inexhaustible Source to fulfill my part.

I give the Adult a wake-up call because I know he has trouble hearing his alarm, on the morning after receiving the caution not to tell the Adult he should go to bed. Or go pick her up when she didn’t plan for the ride home. Overlook irritating and irritated talk.  Dive in to thankless tasks. Really act as though the person is truly loved, and you couldn’t live without her, because it’s true.

And isn’t the debate over complementarian (no, it’s not in my spellcheck vocabulary either) vs. egalitarian marriage really a hyper-focus on this very thing? They can’t get their eyes off of that simplistically reductive 50/50.

The change agents are so proud of their enlightened egalitarian marriages.  They’ve given us something new, something never seen before in the long millennia of human history: men and women, equal in marriage! Hey, congrats and thanks, guys!

I do hate to tell them that the Bible had this one a long time ago:

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21.

And specifically on marriage:

Ephesians 5:33: “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

I Peter 3:7:Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”

Each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”  I Corinthians 7: 2-5

Settle what job is whose, for goodness sake, and move on.

Of course when you have just now thrown away: what women are, what men are, and what you are; and you confuse Ward and June Clever with millennia-old Scriptural teaching, it makes for a little tiny bit of confusion. If you’re going to set out to right societal wrongs, it would be best to get an understanding of the issue all the way down to its foundations.

My husband does the dishes lately without explanation.  He fends me off and tells me to go relax.  After working all day and then chauffeuring for awhile, then going to a meeting, after working on his own writing, before going to bed much too late and getting up much too early.

It’s not because he’s invented a brand new kind of marriage. It’s not because he’s heard on Christian radio that husbands doing housework get rewarded in the bedroom. He has nothing to prove and no secret agenda. He just understands what he promised.

 

 

The First Creation: Part 1

What makes a marriage a marriage? We need to define it before we re-define it.  What is distinct about it?  What makes marriage…marriage?

I think we misunderstand it, and that is pure tragedy.

Man and woman were made in the image of God. They were created beings who were able to relate to God; sentient and self-aware; in His image because they possessed spirits. Out of all that God created, man is the only being who is able to commune with God.

God called this creation something special. Together they were His joy, His most cherished creation. We were created for this relationship with God, and cultivating this relationship with God is man’s responsibility and his privilege.

God created man. Then woman was made from man. Note that she was not created a separate being or species.  They are two manifestations of the same created being.  She was made from him. So intrinsically was she created to be the one who completed him. They are inseparable.

Genesis 2: 23-25:

The man said,

         “This is now bone of my bones,

         And flesh of my flesh;

         She shall be called Woman,

         Because she was taken out of Man.”

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

 

The fundamental creation was the man and the woman in exclusive, intimate relationship. We call that marriage. Marriage is primal in two ways in terms of human societal significance: it was first or primary; and it was the original creation from which all else followed.

In sexual intimacy between a man and wife, that which was once complete in one being, then separated into two, joins again into one. One flesh, one union.

Either marriage is created by God, or it’s a human construct. Either the church is created by God, or it’s a human construct. Either the nation is created by God, or it’s a human construct.  As such, either God is sovereign over them, or there is no authority over them except whoever exerts and maintains power over them.

The Breaking of It

Marriage has been understood everywhere, by everyone, at all times. Heterosexual marriage is what has been understood as marriage. Even where other sexual relationships are tolerated, monogamous marriage is the standard to which all other relationships are compared, and no society in human history has ever defined non-heterosexual unions as marriage.

Marriage growing from the root of the special sexual relationship is more primal than any law; its violation more basic, fundamental and outrageous. Cultures everywhere know this without regard to their knowledge of Judeo- Christian culture.

Socially and historically, its violation is often perceived as more egregious than murder.

When comparing codes of law across world civilizations, there are very few laws which are truly universal. The one law which is common to every culture is a man’s exclusive relationship with his woman.

In some cultures, this is understood as the man’s ownership of his woman. It is not an egalitarian rule: a man may have multiple women, wives or concubines but the women are regarded as in exclusive relationship with the one man. I’m not defending; only explaining.

And in some primitive societies, it is lawful to kill in order to protect this relationship, and it is lawful to avenge its violation by killing. Murder then is considered a virtue under the circumstance of protection of one’s woman—one’s exclusive “ownership” of the relationship with one’s woman. That relationship is understood to be the foundation upon which that man’s family or clan is built. If he loses her, he loses all.

Everyone everywhere always understood the meaning and importance of marriage. Til the enlightened new age, now.

Next: But What Is It?

The End of the Honeymoon?

I have a complaint about this concept of the “end of the honeymoon.” I hear from all parts that inevitable disappointment awaits every bride after she has been married awhile. That all women feel it after the newness has worn off. When we are advised to adjust our unrealistic expectations. When we are advised to resign ourselves to his shortcomings.

Oh, I didn’t realize he was a human being. Why didn’t anyone tell me? It’s never supposed to occur to me that he might be noticing my shortcomings now too.

Christian sources tell us to make the best of our now permanently lowered expectations. Elisabeth Elliot, I suspect charitably attempting to meet women where they are, offered this advice:

A wife at that stage of marriage realizes this is not exactly the man she envisioned before the wedding ceremony. This person whom she thought was a prize package has turned out to be a surprise package. But the more you can offset the differences in your personalities and the way you respond to each other, the more you can learn to enjoy this man.

My husband once made the statement: “If a woman conceded the fact that her husband was perhaps up to 80 percent of her expectations, she ought to consider herself very lucky.” Still, what’s she going to do with the other 20 percent?

You can pick away at that 20 percent for the rest of your life, but you’re not going to reduce it by very much. One of the secrets of a good marriage is learning to accept with gladness the 80 percent you’ve got.

I have been married to my husband for 31 years and I seem to have missed the Disappointment Memo.

I am no idiot, I’m no marriage genius, and I’m just as human as anybody else. There are no rose-colored glasses. He is not perfect. He’s human.

We have been through the same sorts of challenges which are common to most marriages, as well as our own particular troubles. Undiagnosed chronic illness which included nine months in bed and all the attendant emotions and turmoil. We’ve raised six extraordinary and sometimes emotionally difficult people. (Sorry kids.) We’ve experienced extended unemployment, financial stress, depressions, sorrows, disappointments, and cosmic bewilderment.

We’ve seen each other at our worst. In marriage, this is absolutely inevitable. When you get married, you make a choice to face a future containing the most stressful, emotionally difficult times you will ever experience. You will work side-by-side at a life full of responsibilities that will be as much as you can bear. More than you bear; you will be overwhelmed. You will see the worst of each other.

How did we do this without becoming disappointed? You’ll have to ask him for his answer; I guarantee it will reflect well on him. How have I avoided disappointment?

It’s very simple. I never wanted to go there.  I did not WANT to be disappointed. I did not want to believe negatives about him.  I didn’t give myself the opportunity.  It was intuitive and automatic.  I didn’t think about it—I just did not do it.

WHY would I want to think that my companion for life was a disappointment? It sounds self-defeating to me.

I did not want to believe that I was better than him.

For a short-term feeling of superiority, we will plant seeds of discontent in our own gardens. God gives us the person he created to be our spouse from the foundation of the world, moves heaven and earth to help us find each other, and we choose to be disappointed.

Ah, but that little thing we can feel superior about…we can replay it over and over in our minds. We can relish that feeling of outrage and self-righteousness again and again.  It’s really worth it, right?

Meanwhile, we can ever-so-slightly pull away from him, allowing that self-interested item to build a little wall between us. We can feel OK about not respecting him, on this issue at least.  We’re justified. We’re being realistic. Because it would be foolish not to see it, right?

Foolish it is. Don’t I acknowledge that I have become ONE with my husband? I chose him. We two have become one, at once both a hardly-comprehensible mystical union formed by the hand of God, and a practical, functional team toiling about the real business of daily life on Earth.

How do I believe that, live it, and yet step aside and pull for myself, against him? It’s one way or the other.