Archive for the ‘marriage’ Category

What is Love?

March 8, 2016

“Don’t just pretend you love others,; really love them.”  Romans 12:9

What would it look like if we really loved people?  What is love anyway?  Years ago, in nursing courses, it was said “Love Thy Neighbor” meant having concern for his needs, including his physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs.  In that sense, nursing and nursing care plans are filled with love.  But does that mean all nurses love their patients?  Is it possible to look out for someone’s needs in the sense of checking off a list without actually loving them?  What does it mean to love?

If I see someone going by, or standing on their lawn while I go by, or see someone in the marketplace, do I ever look at their face?  Do I read their expression?  Do I wonder about how they are feeling?  Do I speak if I can, or smile if I can’t, or wave if I’m not close enough to be seen or heard?  Do I acknowledge that person in any way?

In big cities and crowded places its easier just not to acknowledge strangers at all, and some people remain anonymous for days on end.  Psychologists say we need to be acknowledged by others and to acknowledge them in return daily to be healthy both mentally and physically.  But we don’t take the time for it.  Is it the sheer numbers of people?  Would all that smiling or speaking wear us out while making our way to work?

What if we just acknowledged the people we see often?  Would that be too much?  Or would that smile and word nourish someone’s mind and emotions for another day?  Would it nourish our own mind and emotions for another day?

What about marriage and the family?  How much time do we spend interacting with our families?  The gift of listening without interruption is a precious gift.  And we learn more about our loved ones.  We appreciate them more.  And those gifts of being available to them nourish them, and nourish us.  What if we said “I will silence my phone for 2 hours each evening”, and spent that time in face to face conversation at home?  I wonder how many divorces would be prevented if we honored each other that way?  I wonder if we would have happier, better adjusted, higher achieving kids.  I talked to a boy the other day who said both his parents were working and going to school.  Then he sighed and said there was no one to listen to him anymore.  So I listened, even though he wasn’t my boy, because it may have nourished his little heart and soul for another day.

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What I Did for Love

February 14, 2016

“If any of you wants to be my follower, He told them, you must put aside your own pleasures and shoulder your cross, and follow me closely.”  Mark 8:14

How many remember the title of this post as a song?  That might be dating yourself, as its quite an old classic.  1975, to be exact.  It was from the Broadway play “A Chorus Line”.  It isn’t about love for a person, but about what one is willing to do to reach a goal or fully realize a talent.  Much sacrifice is required for greatness.

Why are there not more Olympic records broken by Americans?  Why are there not more great scientific discoveries by Americans?  Why are there not more great inventions by Americans?  Why are there not more Americans with advanced educational degrees?  Why are there not more Americans with lifelong marriages?  Why are there not more Christians doing truly great things for God?

I think Jesus provides the answer in the quote above.  To be Jesus follower will cost you.  Oh surely, He had many fair weather followers, and many quiet, hidden followers, but for the disciples who would physically follow Him everywhere He went, the sacrifice was very great.  It meant leaving home and family, familiarity, comfort, bed, meals, security, and so on right up to giving one’s life.

By the way, the answer to all the questions in paragraph two is the same–too much sacrifice.  We always have people who admire or envy those who achieve greatness, but they do not achieve all of which they are capable or all which they dreamed, because they felt the sacrifice was too great.

 

Virtual Marriage

June 21, 2011

It seems everything is virtual nowadays.  Relationships become more shallow by the year.  Texting replaces a call.  A facebook message replaces a letter.  E-cards replace cards.  We hardly talk face to face with anyone.  And along comes virtual marriage.

We used to call it “shacking up”.  Now they call it “trying out marriage”.  Being a roommate before being a mate.  And about one in four couples are doing this.  Why, I wonder?  Where is the love?

Men have always dragged their feet at commitment.  They like the idea of a back door to escape out of whenever things get tough in a relationship.  There’s also the “grass is greener” mentality, where commitment shuts the door on the possibility of a better partner.  In this mentality is a kind of childishness–thinking solely of self and not the “other”.  Certainly its not love.  However, even such men do not like the idea of the woman having an affair on the side.  Whats ok for the gander isn’t ok for the goose.  Not all men are this way, however.  A man can mature and truly love, becoming a very caring, protective committed husband.   He learns to love, and recognize the benefits of marriage.

Women need something else.  Women long to be loved and cherished.  They need exclusivity to feel secure.  They don’t really open up and blossom without knowing its permanent.  They want to love, to build a nest and a future and a family eventually.  What is different now?  Men haven’t changed, but women have.  They are settling for less.  With their own careers they might feel less financial incentive to marry (although married couples do better financially than singles).  With more reliable birth control, they may feel they no longer have a reason to hold out for marriage.  But whats in this virtual marriage for women?   Their very basic needs for love and security aren’t being met in this arrangement.  They give their best years to a man who doesn’t love them enough to commit to them.  They don’t have a real marriage, because they can’t risk being who they really are: they aren’t secure enough.  They postpone childbearing many times because of that insecurity, sometimes too long for their biological peak.  And in the end, when he does bolt for that back door or greener grass, they are just as devastated as they would have been with a divorce.  Living with a man who is uncommitted is unrequited love, and thats just letting oneself be used, doing nothing of value for the loved one, and devastating for the self.

God knew what he was doing.  He made men and women for each other.  He knew men do best with a family to care for; that it brings out the finest qualities in them.  He knew women do best when their love is returned, and their relationship is secure.  And so he made one man and woman to live for one another, exclusively, for a lifetime.  And they are fruitful, raising chidren, and mentoring grandchildren.  And all cultures that endure have accepted this.

Unequals in Love

October 27, 2009

The bible has said Christians are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers.  A lot of Christians take exception to this teaching, believing it to be overly harsh.  This is especially true when the Christian is in love with an unbeliever.  At that point love trumps every teaching and the Christian in question believes love will solve everything.

Love is powerful.  But is it love when the core of who you are, your Christian faith, is rejected by the one you love?  The real you is neither known nor valued by the person you love.  You don’t share your deepest thoughts with your beloved because they aren’t understood.  You don’t share your deepest feelings, for they aren’t appreciated.  You close off your true self from your loved one and not only is there not any deep unity, your own soul begins to suffocate.  You make compromises for the relationship.  You give up some of what sustains you, for the sake of peace.  You do things that cause you vague feelings of shame, for you have compromised your integrity.  The relationship that is left is unsatisfying on the deepest level.  You may still love in an altruistic way, but you lose your own self.  “What does it profit a person to gain the whole world and lose your own soul.”  –Jesus