It’s about that time again, actually even a day late, for chapter 3 of Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. This chapter is all about learning to love and how marriage teaches us how to do so. This chapter really challenged me and hit home.
Matthew 22:34-40 tells us that the most important things we must do is to love God AND love each other. This book talked about how marriage is the perfect place for us to learn how to love everyone. Marriage puts us in such close proximity to our spouse that we see all of their flaws and we still continue to love them and live our daily lives with them. “All Christians are God’s children; by loving others, we bring enormous pleasure to our heavenly Father.” This means our spouse, too. We aren’t called to show them love when they deserve it, earn it, or are doing what we feel like they should be doing. We owe all Christians our love no matter what.
Jesse and I struggle with this A LOT. I can say that we both love each other deeply and even madly, we don’t struggle with the feelings, we struggle with the actions. We both have a hard time showing our love for each other through our words and actions when we are not happen with what the other one is doing. We are both pretty strong minded people and tend to speak most things we are thinking or feeling. On one hand, I love our honesty with each other, but on the other, I know that we should be doing so in a more nurturing and caring way. Sometimes we both come across as more critical than caring. This is not right. “Love is patient, love is kind….” We both struggle with holding each other accountable in this patient and kind manner.
“Allow your marriage relationship to stretch your love and to enlarge your capacity for love – to teach you to be a Christian.” I love this challenge and call to our Christian duty. It is not a choice for Christians to show their spouse love and kindness, it’s what we are supposed to do. I also really liked that the book talked about not only showing our spouse love through spiritual means, but also trying to please them with “earthly” pleasures. When we go out of our way to please our spouse, it pleases God. That can look so different in so many different marriages. In mine, that may mean not complaining about Jesse leaving to go hunting for the weekend, packing his lunch, or doing the “maritals” even when I’m not in the mood. ;) In doing so, I’m not only pleasing Jesse, but most importantly, I’m pleasing my Savior and Creator.
I am going to accept this chapter as a personal challenge.