This week we anticipate the celebration of the greatest event in Christianity – the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who died that we may have LIFE! This reality – that we have new life here on earth, followed by eternal life – is overwhelming. For the Christian, nothing compares!
New life in Christ means a new beginning - even in our marriage. In fact, the beauty of the gift of salvation is that each day is a new beginning. No longer do we need to live in self-condemnation, shame, and regret. These are replaced with forgiveness, joy, and hope! Even when we fall back into our old ways of behaving, forgiveness is extended to us. What an amazing gift!
Can we extend this gift of grace within the context of marriage? We first must give ourselves grace, as we inevitably “mess up” day after day. Don’t collapse in defeat. Remember, today is a new day - a new beginning - another chance to do it better.
You may have some wonderful short-term results applying the Love and Respect principles – and praise God for them! But overall we need to take the long view. Easy success unwisely relaxes us. We then get crushed when a new battle arises. Proverbs 24:16 says, “For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again.” The difference between couples with great marriages and those with bad marriages isn’t the absence of conflict. Successful couples rebound quickly and start again. Unsuccessful couples get discouraged and angry and withdraw into stubbornness, refusing to start over. They close off to God and one another.
Satisfying and stable marriages see failure as part of success. Hall of Fame batters miss 7 out of 10 times. Babe Ruth struck out more than anybody! But he didn’t quit. Successful couples do not let the loss of a battle drive them to the conclusion that they have lost the war. Nor do they let temporary victories lull them into a false sense of security.
It takes time to relearn behavior…to unconditionally respect your husband or to unconditionally love your wife…especially when he/she does not respond the way you would like. But God’s Word does not disappoint. He knows that we are naturally impatient creatures so He tells us to take heart and to be patient. Be especially encouraged because when you do what God wants you to do, you are sowing for the long term.
This is about reaping a glorious harvest because you took the time to plant things the right way and wait until the crops bore fruit. This is not about short-term control but about long-term fruitfulness.
Be patient! Today is a new day. Begin again…
Emerson and Sarah