They’d been married thirty-one years and had two children to show for it. They owned a house with property and a small business they run together, side-by-side, day in and day out. Both were in their fifties (maybe older) and were sitting with a dull-eyed stare at me, who looked way too young to know anything about love. What could I do for them? What did I know about their relationship that they did not? I was a young pip-squeak who didn’t live the trials of their life together.
First and foremost–they were right. I didn’t know what could help bring the youthful blossom back to their tattered bloom of romance. I have some ideas…but I truly didn’t know. That’s why I don’t claim to be a counselor or psychologist. I’m not even qualified to give out advice (the young pip-squeak thing). So why did they walk away smiling? Holding hands? And amazed? I talked with them about two things.
Be Dumb Enough to Listen.
If you’re helping people for a living, then you already know this verse.
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.” Phil 2:13
I learned much more when I quit trying to know everything about everything. Sometimes my over analyzing, know-it-all self tries to get in there and slap pat answers on slippery problems. If God is working within me, and He wants the very best for this couple, then He and I make a majority. If they want that too, we’re unanimously agreed. All we have to do is see it from God’s perspective. In this couple’s case, they did want the best for their relationship. So what did I teach them?
Be dumb enough to listen. Ha! If I spend time teaching them how to hear God’s voice or see Him working in their marriage they will go to the guy who really does have all the answers. Have I helped them at that point? You bet! If I were a psychologist, I’d have worked myself out of a job. Cough, cough…wink–wink.
Actively listening includes asking for clarification, getting answers and going back for more information. God wants to bless our relationships. HE can let us know what to listen for, when to listen harder, and what to say–if anything–when the listening ends. Don’t you wish someone had the guts to listen to you? God listens with full-on participation. Now let’s return the favor. That leads me to my next point.
Your Relationship Is Not a Tattered Blossom
Relationships are like anything else. What you put in, is what you get out. They are not the single blossom that fades in the sun and wind, relationships are planted in the whole garden of your life. Each plant coming and going in their own season and standing tall in the brilliance of its own specific design. What happens when a plant is infested with bugs or weeds? What happens if a relationship is not rooted in the depth of the Word of God? Will they survive? Maybe. Will they produce fruit? Small ones possibly. Read this amazing section in Romans with me.
“[Let] love be without dissimulation (without hypocrisy–never fake it). Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.[Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality…16) [Be] of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:9-13, 16-18
Doesn’t this define a great relationship? I’d say so. If you did the first verse and that was it, you’d be fine. But look at that last verse, If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably. What if it’s not possible to live peaceable in your marriage anymore? Look at the next verse.
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath (your anger): for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head (Figure of Speech=be kind). Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 17-21
Don’t get back at the person. Then peaceably part ways. There is no reason for wars and fighting among you. Let God be the judge. If it’s for the best to part company, so be it. There are only two commandments. Love God with all your heart soul mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. (Which also implies you love yourself.) The worst thing you can do is what? Not love God. Quit being so hard on yourself. Relationships take work. They take listening to God and each other. If you can’t do either, because of the relationship, there is a huge disease-spreading weed. Nothing is more important than your relationship with God. Period. The devil’s goal is to steal, kill and destroy that relationship and anything else that has you worshiping the one true God. So if something does that, put it to the test. Make sure to be sure it’s not the relationship. Sometimes it’s just a little weed.
God Bless You Today!