Friday, March 19, 2010

The Love Dare - Day 33

Love Completes Each Other "If two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?" -- Ecclesiastes 4:11

God creates marriage by taking a man and a woman and uniting them as one. And although love must be willing to act alone if necessary, it is always better when it is not just a solo performance. Love can function on its own if there is no other way, but there is a “more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31). And love dares not to stop loving before it gets there.

This “completing” aspect of love was revealed to mankind from the beginning. God originated the human race with male and a female – two similar but complementary designs meant to function in harmony.

Are bodies are made for each other. Our natures and temperaments provide balance, enabling us to more effectively complete the tasks at hand. Our oneness can produce children, and our teamwork can best raise them to health and maturity. When one is weak, the other is strong. When one needs building up, the other is equipped to enhance and encourage. We multiply one another’s joys and divide one another’s sorrows.

The scriptures say, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the other one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up”(Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10). It’s like your two hands, which don’t just coexist together but multiply the effectiveness of the other. In order to do what they do, neither is quite complete without the other.

Although our difference can frequently be the source of the misunderstanding and conflict, they have been created by God and can be ongoing blessings if we respect them.

One of you may be better at cooking, for instance, while the other is more thorough in cleaning the dishes. One may be more gentle and able to keep peace among family members, while the other handles discipline more directly and effectively. One may have a good business head but needs the other to help him remember to be generous.

When we learn to accept these distinctions in our mate, we can bypass criticism and go straight to helping and appreciating one another.

But some can’t seem to get past their partners differences. And they suffer many wasted opportunities as a result. They don’t take advantage of the uniqueness that makes each of them more effective when including the other.

One such example from the Bible is Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who presided over the trial of Jesus. Unaware of who Christ was and against his better judgment, he allowed the crowd to influence him into crucifying Jesus.

But the one person who was more sensitive to what was really happening was Pilate’s wife, who came to him at the height of the uproar and warned him he was making a mistake. “While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, ‘Have nothing to do with what righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him” (Matthew 27:19).

She was apparently a woman of keen discernment who grasped the magnitude of these events before her husband did. Certainly, God’s sovereignty was at work, and nothing would have kept His Son from marching obediently to the cross for us. But Pilate’s dismissal of his wife’s intuition reveals an unfortunate side to man’s nature that is often downplayed. God made wives to complete their husbands, and He gives them insight that in many cases is kept from their men. If this discernment is ignored, it is often to the detriment of the man making the decision.

The effectiveness of your marriage is dependent upon both of you working together. Do you have big decisions to make about your finances or retirement planning? Are you having a real problem with a coworker who’s getting harder and harder to deal with, and you are grappling with the appropriate action to take? Are you absolutely convinced that your educational choices for the children are right, no matter what your spouse thinks?

Don’t try doing all the analysis yourself. Don’t disqualify his or her right to voice an opinion on matters that affect both of you. Love realizes that God has put you together on purpose. And though you may wind up disagreeing with your spouse’s perspectives, you should still give their views respect and strong consideration. This honors God’s design for your relationship and guards the oneness He intends.

Joined together, you are greater than your independent parts. You need each other. You complete each other.

Today’s Dare: Recognize that your spouse is integral to your future success. Let them know today that you desire to include them in your upcoming decisions, and that you need their perspective and counsel. If you have ignored their input in the past, admit your oversight and ask them to forgive you.

Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group.

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