Monday, 31 May 2010

Crumpled Clothes

In a recent marriage class we were discussing the fact that marriage is a gift from God. But many of us act as though our spouse is more like the Apostle Paul’s thorn in the flesh than a gift. A treasured friend offered the following analogy: “Let’s say a good friend gave you a $1500 designer dress that she chose for you because she knew it would look beautiful on you and bring out your best features. After you wore it once or twice you crumpled it up into a ball and threw it into the bottom of your closet. There was nothing wrong with the garment you just didn’t go to the effort to take care of it. Now let’s assume that the person who gave you the gift happened to be visiting and saw the crumpled garment, the one they had so carefully selected for you. How do you think they would feel?” Perhaps God feels like that generous person when He sees what a crumpled mess we have made of the marriage he has given us, all because we didn’t put effort into taking care of it.

As a general rule when I give someone a gift it is something that I think will bring pleasure to them, something that I think they may have wanted and/or hoped for. I might not be brightest bulb but I learned a long time ago not to give my wife an iron or toaster for an anniversary gift. Neither do we give someone a box of Brillo scrub pads when invited to their home for dinner. There are few things that fit into the category of both “really good” and “good for you”. Three things come to mind – red wine and chocolate (you have to love those anti-oxidants) and marriage.

Marriage made the “good” and “good for you” list because when it is good it is really good and God intended it to be good. In addition God intended it for our good. Setting aside the benefits of a longer and healthier life touted as bi-products of marriage, consider that this person who He has given you is part of His development plan for your life. And you say, “You have to be kidding.” You did say that didn’t you? The person who constantly irritates me, the man who couldn’t find the clothes hamper if it were tied to his leg, the woman who acts as though I am a project to be fixed, the person who doesn’t have one romantic bone in his/her body, etc. – that’s part of God’s development plan?

I find two things are true. First, God uses people and circumstances in my life as part of His plan to mold me into the person he wants me to be and secondly, God’s answer to the Apostle Paul in his time of trial is the same as his answer to me, “My grace is sufficient for you."

Remember your spouse is a gift from God, treat him or her that way.  This is where my friends analogy breaks down, don't hang your spouse up!

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