Thursday, February 14, 2013

Gloomy or Giddy?

Outside it is currently overcast with a feeling of gloominess!

In the northeast part of the country it is not only overcast but they are buried under up to three feet of snow!! That can be gloomy but others get giddy at the sight of so much white powder.

I guess it's how you look at it? Kind of like the glass being half full or empty metaphor. (by the way, it's half full!)

How can two people look at the same thing and come away with two radically different interpretations?

My wife and I are very different when it comes to our personalities. She's the detailed planner who works very hard at whatever task or project she puts herself to. I can see her going through her mental checklist to assure that she has prepared well to produce well.

I like to "go with the flow." I want to make sure we are prepared but not over prepared.  I like to enjoy the adventure of the unknown and deal with the surprises when they come.

That can drive her crazy!

These differences have also been a rich blessing spiritually. The Lord has used our different approaches to actually complement and challenge our views and our sanctification. Bev's attention to detail and discipline have been a necessary balance to my laid back approach. I've had to learn to not presume on God or take his blessings for granted which is my tendency.

On the other hand Bev has also grown in her trust in the Lord in the unknowns of life. Planning for the future is good and godly but when the control becomes more important than the trust it can lead to nagging frustration.

Your marriage and mine should really be a mini picture of the church. It should be the place where God is growing people more and more into the image of his Son. That often comes not through people who are the same but very different. We learn from and are sharpened by brothers and sisters who are used of God to make us deal with God.

"For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ..." Romans 12:4,5

So today, not only should you thank God for the differences in your partner but ask him to help you embrace them for his sake.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

You Really Didn't See It!?

Whether it was the Superbowl that EVERYBODY watched or the next episode of Downton Abbey.

"You mean to tell me you didn't see it?!"

Some things are very important to us and the thought of someone not having that same conviction or experience is hard to fathom. It can feel like such a part of our DNA that we pity others who are missing out and even become inwardly critical when they act as if they could live without it.

This plays out in marriage in a similar way. Some expectation that is important to you goes unmet or worse yet, unnoticed. You can't help but take it personally when you think it is in clear view and your spouse acts oblivious or disinterested. How can we have an intimate, growing relationship when one partner doesn't value the same thing with the same passion?

It is amazing how the little things become the big things. Styles, tastes or personality differences quickly become sources of arguments rather than appreciating our differences. It's not wrong it's just different.

"If it's really important to me it has to be important to you!"

I think if we are really honest with ourselves much of our frustration occurs when our spouse does not share the same interest or intensity with things we like. We are actually more consumed with our own interests than with our mates'. It's a subtle form of selfishness that can lead to unnecessary tension.

So where does the call of Jesus fit into this quagmire? Look no further than Paul's writing in Philippians 2:4, "Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interests of others." It's amazing what it will do to a relationship if someone acts like they REALLY want to know what is important to the other.

Look no further as well than to the life and example of Jesus in that same passage. He was and is more interested in us than we are in him. He continues to love us and to pursue us and to free us from ourselves.

Take a deeper interest today in Jesus and then do the same with your spouse.