Beware of starting Bible studies on better marriages - it’s sure to backfire. I feel like I am on the brink of a cold war with my husband, and the only reason why it’s on the brink and not in deep is because he’s never home, always working, working, working. He just started a new business in January, and we’ve had no regular income since then. So of course he has to work, work, work if we ever want to stop living on credit cards and maybe one day start to get them paid off (me picking up more hours isn’t really practical when it means paying for babysitting for three kids... but I have been trying to work a couple nights a week after the kids are in bed). I feel like I’m not married anymore but this fellow comes and sleeps at our house everynight and eats some food and occasionally leaves us some money in return. Okay, it’s not that bad, but my emotions tell me it is practically that bad.
So here is the premise of this Bible study we’re doing, based on the book "Love and Respect"
Ephesians 5:33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
The Greek word used for "love" in this verse is agape, the unconditional, self-sacrificing type of love. So the author contends that since the man is required to give unconditional love to his wife, it follows that the wife should give unconditional respect to her husband. Men crave respect like women crave love.
But as soon as I learned this, my evil twin soul rebelled. But I don’t want to give him unconditional respect. He has to earn it! I just erased several sentences of ranting and raving about why he doesn’t deserve unconditional respect. The point is, easy to understand but absolutely the hardest thing to live, is that it is possible to give unconditional love AND respect because that is what Jesus did for us.
My battle is more with myself than with B. I understand, but I have such a hard time doing. Duh, that might because I haven’t been spending any time in the Word or with God lately... Like for several months now. Where else do you get the strength to accomplish the impossible?
I still haven’t picked up my Bible but I have started reading Oswald Chamber’s "Still Higher for His Highest" (another great devotional in the fashion of "My Utmost for His Hightest"). Here are some fantastic quotes from it that have provided me with inspiration.
Faith cannot be intellectually defined; faith is the inborn capacity to see God behind everything, the wonder that keeps you an eternal child.... Beware of losing the wonder, and the first thing that stops wonder is religious conviction... the only evidence of salvation and sanctification is that the sense of wonder is developing, not at things as they are, but at the One who made them as they are.
When the facts of life have humbled us, when introspection has stripped us of our own miserable self-interest and we receive a startling diagnosis of ourselves by the Holy Spirit, we are by that painful experience brought to the place where we can hear the marvelous message - propfounder than the profoundest philosophies earth ever wove, "Come to Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Until this experience comes, men may patronize Jesus Christ, but they do not come to Him for salvation.
Our heavenly Father has an amazing sense of humor; He will bring across your path the kind of people who manifest to you what you have been to Him. If you have been obstinate, that is why you have got that fellow around you just now, and Jesus says, "Show him the attitude I showed you." It means showing the disposition of Jesus Christ to the man who deliberately wrongs you, and it takes some doing.