“In marriage, both spouses need to meet one another in negotiation with love, patience, and unselfishness.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – February 16, 2021
With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2-3
Marriage is a series of negotiations. Where should we live? Where should we work? Where should we send our kids to school? How often should we visit your family and mine?
The challenge of these negotiations is that sometimes what’s best for me is not what’s best for us and what is best for you is also not what’s best for us.
Philippians 2:3-4 says. . .
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
This scripture is easy to fulfill when it comes to simple things in marriage such as, “I’ll bring in the trash so that you don’t have to bring it in late at night after work,” or “Sure, I’ll go with you on that business trip so you don’t have to go alone.”
But sacrifice can get much more complicated when what is best for me—or you—isn’t what is best for us.
Mark 10:8 says, “. . . and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”
This means that after marriage, the sacrifices we make and the choices we choose aren’t just about me, and they aren’t just about you. They are about us. They are about us now and they are about us in the future.
What will be the consequences for our choices now? And, what will be the long-term consequences of our choices for our family? Will our union be strengthened or weakened by our choice? Are we choosing this for you—or me—more than for us? If so, how can we make a better choice for our marriage? And, of course, how do we feel the Lord is leading us?
After we married, my husband accepted a job opportunity in Chicago. I didn’t really want to move to Illinois, and he didn’t either. But, it’s what was best for our marriage. So, we moved. It turned out to be a blessing.
Imagine a man wants to take a job working in the country. He’s always dreamed of living on a farm. But that isn’t what is best for his marriage. It’s not “best for us.” So, he decides to forego living in the country so he can support his most important relationship.
Or perhaps a wife wants to live in the city, but this arrangement isn’t what is best for the long-term health of her marriage or for the future of her children. Rather than demand her own desires, she chooses what is best for her husband and family.
If both mates want something opposite—he wants this, she wants that—they need to come together and decide what is the best for their relationship, now and in the future. And, if it’s difficult to choose, if both spouses meet one another in negotiation with love, patience, and unselfishness, it can make the process easier.
A marriage can be strengthened when we learn to see marriage not as a “you get what you want and I don’t” but that we work together to do not just what is best for you and not what is best for me, but what is best for us.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
Lord, please help me to be unselfish and to focus on the good of my marriage and not just what is best for me, Amen.
Is there a conversation you need to have with your mate that will help you revisit a choice that will be good for your union, not just for one of you?
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