A few years back, Patty and I were reading a marriage book. The author spent a lot of time focused on behavior. At one point while reading the book I was supposed to stop and ask Patty what I could do to make her feel romanced. She shared a couple of things that were helpful. One way I could express romance was to open the door for her when she got in a car or entered a building. According to the book, I needed to make sure I did these things so she would feel loved. Now that she had shared, I should open the door for her every time. That is when the issue of door opening became complicated.
There were two issues at play; I now felt I was required to open the door for her whether I wanted to or not; In addition, she had an expectation on her part that I would follow through with the action because she had shared a simple way for me to romance her. She then determined she would help me by standing at the door waiting for me to open it when I forgot. I would be starting the car and she would be standing there, waiting. I would look at her waiting by the door frustration settling in. I would think, “God gave her hands so I don’t know why she can’t use them.” Then I would get out, walk around the car, and open the door all the while grumbling under my breath. Resentment started to build.
One morning I was thinking about who God says I am. You have probably heard it but if not God says I am loved, accepted, valued, a favored son, a servant, a saint, etc. Great way to start the day. Then, He started telling me who Patty is. I had not asked but apparently I don’t always ask the right questions. Patty is a child of the King (that makes her a princess), a person He delights in, His favorite daughter, passionately loved, completely accepted, and highly valued. When you start thinking about it you have to come to the conclusion that God had given this favored daughter to me and, furthermore, had given me to her. I was to be one of his expressions of love to her. One of the ways I could express that love was to open the door for her. I can’t fully explain, but as this realization sank in there was a change in the way I saw both who she was and who I was in relation to our marriage. This realization changed the way I thought about opening the door for her. It was no longer a response to an expectation or a chore, but something I wanted to do because it was part of who God calls me to be. Part of my identify in Christ is that I am an expression of God’s love to Patty and one way I can express that love is by opening the door for her. This is the business God is involved in, renewing minds and changing hearts.
I know people who really don’t want to be married, people who have given up on their relationships, or people who simply live together as room-mates. They may try all kinds of things from the Love Dare Challenge to the Respect Dare Challenge to regain that spark in their marriage, and these are all well and good in their place. Many times, however, what they really need is a new way of thinking. A new way of seeing their spouse, their marriage and even themselves. What they need is a revelation from God so they can see their spouse, marriage, and self from God’s eyes. They need His perspective and point of view.
This week meditate on how God sees you and your role in your marriage to his favored child. Be open to hear from Him concerning how He wants to change the way you see your spouse. Once you start to see these truths the behaviors can’t help but follow.
Thought for the Week: Am I open to seeing my spouse the way God sees my spouse. Am I open to being a expression of His love for them.
Romans 12: 12 – Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…
Note: Patty no longer waits for me to open the door. If I do, she is thankful. If I forget, she uses the arms God gave her and opens her own door…and is thankful. God worked on her expectations while he was working on my point of view. I am constantly amazed at His ability to multi-task. God Bless.