Enough! Enough?

May 3, 2012

in Good Marriage, Reader Requested, Seeing Clearly

Bottles filled to various levels © Design56 | Dreamstime.comSunday’s post – Always onward and upward – included the line “Don’t settle, don’t think you have done enough – it’s a trap! ” Shortly after I finished penning (keying?) that, I read an email from one of you about the idea of enough:

“I’d be interested in your thoughts, perhaps as a blog post about the concept of “Enough” I hear that word bandied about as a justification for doing “enough”, as well as “not being enough” The term is completely relative, but the concept seems to permeate many aspects of relationships.”

What is enough, and what is not? As the gentleman above said, it’s completely relative. In large part, it depends on how you define “enough”. Does it mean “as much as needed”, or does it mean “the minimum to get by”. The second is clearly neither loving nor generous. When I think of all God has done for me, I don’t think of it in terms of the bare minimum; He is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” and He came that we “may have life, and have it abundantly”. God is not about “enough”.

To me, enough is often an excuse or justification. Sometimes it comes from someone else “You’ve done enough”. There certainly are times when one’s efforts are more than sufficient, but too often well-meaning folks use this phrase to let a friend off the hook. I wonder how many marriages might have survived if no one had told one spouse they had done enough.

On the other hand, I don’t want anyone living in despair, thinking they have never “done enough”. I’ve seen men and women nearly kill themselves to save their marriage be told they did not “do enough”. I also know husbands and wives try to control each other with claims not enough has been done. The implication, sometimes the statement, is if you had done a bit more, it would have been enough for me to do what you want me to do.

I see marriage as a life-long journey. There is no arriving; only growing. Perfection is the direction, but we know we will never get there – and that’s okay. There are seasons of hard work, and seasons of being more relaxed. There is always more we could do, but not always something we must do right now.

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8 comments
bill
bill

Years ago my brother-in-law and I used to help each other with home remodeling projects. We had a saying, "Good enough for who it's for." This saying quickly became our mantra. Then I got married and my wife was quick to point out that "it" was for HER, and only highest quality and care would be acceptable. So, it is indeed relative.

John Delcamp
John Delcamp

As a perfectionist, I see enough as meaning "just enough to get by" which is the meaning that I percieve most people - men and women take not just in their relationships but in everything they do. I consider "enough" to mean that I am better than those who fail but I am not good enough to be a complete success. In my relationship both with God and my wife, I always strive to go beyond "enough" because it is the extra that brings the greats rewards to the relationship.

Brian
Brian

Hebrews 12:1-4 would seem to apply...

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

John Delcamp - I am the same way. The problem then as a pastor or teacher is to discern the line between how God made me, and what it right and wrong in general. I've seen to much harm done by some well meaning teacher who thinks everyone should be as God made them, and do as God would have them do.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

Debi - That man of your's is a funny guy. And you can quote me on that - period!

John Delcamp
John Delcamp

I see plenty of people trying to make people into their mold rather than in to God' image. What helps me is when I understood two things - 1) I am only the instrument and God is responsible for the results, and 2) understanding that my natural gifts and strengths will become my down fall in ministry if I don't carefully guard and protect myself. A book entitled "The darkside of Minsitry" was a great help.

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