I learned a rather costly lesson last spring and summer. Fortunately, I did not learn this in my marriage, but it does apply to marriage.
” If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” [Romans 12:18 NIV]
The key to that verse is “as far as it depends on you”. We do not have control over others – we cannot make them do things, we cannot make them see reason, we cannot force them to be loving, kind, or godly. However, we should not just take any out offered to walk away, or to stop caring, or as an excuse to not love, or to treat them people wrongly. Indeed, the passage goes on to say:
“Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.[Romans 12:19-21 NIV]
My goal is that I not allow the words, attitudes, or actions of others to determine what I do or do not do. Of course, the same stipulation found above applies to this – in is as far as it depends on me. I can’t make others see me a certain way, or hear the truth as the truth, or treat me as I think I should be treated: but I can choose to not change how I treat those people – in as much as it depends on me. I won’t repay evil with evil, snub with snub, silence with silence, distancing with distancing, or anger with anger. I will continue to love, give and serve as long as I feel God telling me to, making changes only as the behaviour of others leaves me no choice.
Yes, this is hard – painfully hard. It hurts to love someone who has wronged you. I don’t want to serve someone who has cost me something I value. I don’t want to bless those who have cursed me.
No, I am not even close to being perfect at it.
Yes, the Lord continues to give me opportunities to practice this until I get it right. Actually, I doubt it will stop even
when if it becomes relatively easy, but then it won’t matter since it won’t cost me so much.
If what I am saying is relevant to your marriage, I am deeply sorry. I cannot imagine the pain that comes from living with that in your marriage. However, I can tell you that the Bible “strongly suggests” that you give, love, and bless no matter what your spouse does. You do need to protect yourself, and even more you need to protect your children, but the principle in the Scriptures above are still valid. In as far as it depends on you, continue to love and serve.
Links to blog posts that stood out to me this last week:
5 Reasons Why I Should Initiate Sex With My Wife – Repost: Stu over at The Marry Blogger has some good thoughts on asking for sex rather than hinting for sex.
5 Things I Learned from My Failed Marriage: Julie, at Intimacy in Marriage shares what she has learned about the importance of sex in marriage.
Are you bored in bed?: Some good ideas on improving your sex life from Lori at Project Happily Ever After.
A Personal Story: Pornography and Marriage: Life Gems has a guest post from Stu at The Marry Blogger.
Overwhelmed With Family Management?: Cory has a winner in this Simple Marriage post about mothers who have way too much to do.