Thursday, 4 November 2010

Romance versus Love

The following excerpt appeared in a Joni and Friends morning devotional:

"This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another."
- 1 John 3:11

The romance has gone out of my marriage. Instead, there is love. Romance used to say, "I'll do absolutely anything for you," but love goes a step further and says, "Yes, and I'll prove it."

Romance is fleeting, but love is long.
Romance is flying, but love is a safe landing.
Romance seeks perfection, but love forgives faults.
Romance anguishes as it waits for the phone to ring to bring a voice that says sweet things, but love is the anguish of waiting for a call that assures you someone else is safe and happy.
Romance is suspense, anticipation and surprise, but love is dependability.
Romance is dancing in the moonlight, gazing deep into desired eyes, but love is saying, "You're tired, honey, I'll get up this time."
Romance is delicious, but love nourishes.

I truly believe this is one of those times when, as the expression goes, “you can have your cake and eat it to” (whatever that means). I think Anonymous has given us a beautiful picture of what it means to love another person. Love must be a verb and love must be other centered. That said, romance can remain a vital part of the relationship. In fact, I believe the more in love a couple is the better making love will become. Intimacy implies vulnerability, and the more trusting the relationship the more vulnerable one can become. When I can put my wife’s needs ahead of my needs and she can put my needs ahead of hers, magical things can happen.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Has Abnormal Become Normal?

For many years we have owned a grandfather clock that chimes every fifteen minutes and gongs on the hour. I must admit I rarely hear the clock unless I am in the same room. I have driven some routes hundreds of times and yet fail to see things that someone new to the area would observe. I have become de-sensitized to the sights and sounds of everyday life.             

The same thing can happen in our marriages. There are many couples who think their marriage is okay, in fact it is probably fairly normal. In reality what has happened in many cases is that what couples should consider as abnormal has become their new norm and they have quit seeing and hearing what has become of their marriage. The problem for these couples is not that they are dissatisfied with their marriage. The problem is that they are satisfied with marriages that fall far short of what God intended marriage to be.

Paul Tripp offers several metaphors to describe how we neglect our marriages. “Many of us are way too skilled at living with plan B. We are all too good at painting over cracked walls, at working around broken plumbing, and at rigging dysfunctional wiring. We are all too good at getting along, making do, and hoping for the best. We are all too good at talking ourselves into the belief that things will get better, that our problems aren’t really that big, and that we are better off than many couples.”

“We act like what is broken is not…We are comfortable when we should be concerned. We are passive when we should be active. We are satisfied when we should be dissatisfied. We get up each morning and make things work the best we can, but our best falls way short of God’s best.”

You may be saying, “thanks for pulling the scab off big shot, so what do you recommend?” First of all I don’t recommend settling for less than having a marriage that glorifies God. I’d love to say, “Go see a Christian counselor and that will solve your problem.” I’d love to but I can’t, though it might help. I would say that you and your spouse should read a book like Paul Tripp’s What did You Expect or Dave Harvey’s When Sinners Say “I Do”. Agree as a couple that whatever it takes you will work together to achieve the kind of marriage that brings you both joy and brings God a smile.