I remember that day so vividly. It was a day of revelation for me. I was pregnant, homeschooling our two sons with a toddler under toe and trying to keep our house tidy for the sporadic showings we had while our little ranch was for sale. Life was so busy and my temper was unpredictable. You know that phrase, "If Momma ain't happy..."?? You know the rest... that was me.
This day in particular, I was cleaning a mess my hubby made. OK, let me just be honest, it was his toilet. At the time, we had two separate bathrooms. As I was on my knees, working up a sweat with my big belly in the way, my thoughts started down that dangerous spiral: from accusation to anger and from anger to bitterness. If you could take a peek into my mind, it would not have been pretty.
Why am I cleaning his mess? Can't he just do this one little thing? Doesn't he understand all that I do? He is so selfish. I don't deserve this. This is so unfair. I am so unappreciated.
What I have discovered in loving my husband is this: I can't love him naturally on my own. My feeble attempts will always fail. Sin is funny that way. Somehow we will end up finding ways to be disappointed in our husbands. It's gonna get messy. Just going on your feelings or his performance will never work when it comes to true love in marriage.
I believe this is exactly what Jesus was referring to in John 15.
the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them,
will produce much fruit.
For apart from me you can do nothing.
Marriage--or any relationship--should not be "tit for tat." As a disciple, our love should always be freely given without strings attached. When we approach relationships with conditional love no one really wins. If Christ operated that way, we would all be destined for hell. However, the humble and sacrificial love of Christ is offered to everyone regardless of their actions, behavior or attitude. Can't we do that in our love for our husbands? Offer grace and forgiveness, just like Christ?
What if we give up what we think is right and fair for something greater: grace. Don't give in to those dangerous thoughts of fairness and resentment. Remain in the Vine. Follow Christ's example. Love deeply and richly without looking for something in return. In doing so, you'll be like your Savior and you just might find out what true love is all about.
However, you might have to go through a lot of dirty toilets along the way :)
*Linked to: Women Living Well, Homemaking Linkup, Traditional Tuesdays, Titus 2sdays, Works for Me, Simple Lives Thursday, Encourage One Another Pin It