Hurtful phrases often begin with two words: “You never…” or “You always…” or “You are…”. Hearing those declarations made about you long enough, one begins to believe… “I always” and “I am”. When you find yourself defeated, you give up — on yourself, each other, and your marriage.
Maybe we think our spouse should be the one to show us some attention, or they should be putting us first. While that is a valid point, we can only control our own actions. So a better approach might be for us to focus on what we can do for our spouse instead of what they are not doing for us.
We need listen to what the Bible tells us about love: It is not self-seeking.
You love your spouse. Put aside yourself and show him.
I’d watch him walk out the door (to provide for our family … or whatever) and crave that separation, that solitude, that freedom for just one day.
And to some extent, that feeling is natural, okay even.
But when missing my freedom turned into resenting my husband for his, when I began begrudging him for a choice I had made, when envy began to cast shadows on my joy, that’s when this verse jerked me into the light: Love Does Not Envy.
Attend any wedding and you’ll likely hear 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. It is a beautiful litany of verses that describe the nature of love, unconditional love. Sadly, like Psalm 23 being read at funerals or even reciting the Pledge of Allegiance daily in elementary school, you become numb to its rich meaning.
And now I know, the moment you believe your marriage is immune to big problems is the exact moment it becomes vulnerable to big problems.
I was convinced we would never struggle.
Then all of a sudden, there we were, two-freaking-years into this thing and practically underwater.
This year, I pray that I may be content in the stable. That I may find beauty in the meekness of a humble manger and not try to manufacture it everywhere else. Jesus is easily found in spaces untouched by the desire to put our own greatness on display. I have to be careful not to hide him.
But the older I get (and the more children I have), the more tension I feel at Christmastime. How do I create the perfect Christmas without making it all about a mythical being and gifts? How do I strike a balance between nauseating consumerism and fun-sucking religion?
In a season that so easily overwhelms, how can I slow down, lower my expectations, and point to the manifestation of Grace and Love in a way that excites my kids and blesses others?