Monday, December 3, 2007

Those Three Words...

I didn't think I had time today to participate in Marriage Monday, but when I saw the topic, "What Makes a Marriage Christian, I thought, let me slow down, take a minute and think about this one".

As I was driving home this morning after dropping my son off at school, I had time to think about and reflect on this topic. The very first thing that came to mind was FORGIVENESS. Of all the many things that should set a Christian marriage apart from all others would be forbearance and forgiveness.

I have been so blessed and privileged to have so many wonderful examples of what a Christian marriage looks like. My precious mom taught me what patience and forgiveness really means. I also had two "spiritual moms" in the Lord who also taught me about the characteristics that should be a reflection of Christ and his bride, the church.

Personally, forgiveness has been something I have had to work on daily. God has blessed me with a wonderful, patient, (oh so very patient...) husband, and he seems to be able to offer forgiveness toward me in such a generous way each day. Now on the other hand, it is very easy for me to want to nurse my wounds and keep Rick reminded of his shortcomings.

A few years ago my precious friend Bunny Wilson, (the author of the wonderful book "Liberated Through Submission") gave me a challenge that changed the course of my marriage. The mission was learning to say three very painful, yet powerful, words. Now, to make things more difficult, I was challenged to say these words even when I felt I was offended or justified.

OK, I am sure you are wondering what those words were. Well, here they are…"I was wrong." Ouch. I tried to argue this theory with her, and justify many situations where those words were unnecessary, but it continually came back to me having to say them. Just the act of taking “an offense" for things that have been done to us is wrong, even when we may be right. That’s hard! However, I soon realized that I did not have any rights, except the right to offer the same kind of unmerited forgiveness Jesus offered to me. Well, I began using those words on a daily basis, and it began to change my life.

At first, it was very painful, but as the days and weeks went on, they just came out more naturally, and then my husband started catching on. We began to get into spats over who was really in the wrong! We both kept saying, “No, I was wrong”…”No, it was me - I was wrong”! Can you imagine trying to stay upset when the other person is trying to argue that they were really the one who was wrong?

God loves when we are obedient to His word, and the fruit from this is always so sweet. I cannot end this post without sharing the best guidelines I have ever found for marriage. It is recorded in the famous "love chapter" in I Corth. 13 and I love the way the Message Bible brings these words of Paul home:

The Way of Love

(1) If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. (2) If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. (3-7) If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.

Love doesn't strut,

Doesn't have a swelled head,

Doesn't force itself on others,

Isn't always "me first,"

Doesn't fly off the handle,

Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn't revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end.

((I love you Rick!))

Thanks E-Mom for being yet another great spiritual mom and example for me. I learn so much each time I come go to your site, and especially when I participate on Marriage Monday, because it makes me stop and really think about what is important in my life. If any of you reading this today would like to see what others are sharing about Marriage you can go and visit Chrysalis.


Mimi said...

Very wise words... and you are right... it is very hard to say I Was Wrong... when you are so very sure you are right and he is wrong...
but if you accept the position of being wrong... it makes it easier to begin the discussion that will eventually end the argument!!!

Jan Parrish said...

Awesome advice and so very true.

Grandchildren all girls and all boy children? Wow what a blessing!I have that to look forward to. :)

Wendell said...

I'm glad you had time, a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing.

e-Mom said...

The first word that came to your mind was FORGIVENESS... and that's exactly what I first thought of too. (Since I interviewed my husband for my post, I didn't get to share that!) So thanks for developing the idea of forgiveness in Christian marriage so well here.

Wow, I know how powerful those words "I was wrong" can be. When I manage to muster them, they stop my husband dead in his tracks! I think those three words are rarely spoken in any kind of setting and they mean so much to our men.

I Cor. 13 is the perfect passage to close your post. And thanks so much for jumping in and writing on this topic... especially when you were pressed for time. I hope you'll participate in Marriage Monday next month too!

Hugs, e-Mom

Jenileigh said...

This was great. Thanks for sharing and bringing this word of knowledge.

Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Great post. Those words of advice are good.
Lifting a prayer for your marriage.

Tiffany Stuart said...

I'm still learning how to say, "I am wrong." That's hard, but I can see how it benefits the marriage.

I read up on Jordan. I'm touched and I will be praying for him and your family. My brother had rhabdomyiosarcoma. A rare form of cancer(tumor) behind his sinuses. Above his soft palate. He's been given a second chance. But not without challenges.

My email is Sorry you couldn't find it.

Have a great day!

May the peace of God guard your heart and mind.

Thanks for your friendship!

Anonymous said...

I love it that you and your husband we actually fighting over who was wrong. If only all "fights" in marriages could be so loving!

I LOVE 1 Cor. 13. We had it read at our wedding. Its good to review so that I make sure I am exhibiting love in my marriage.

Glad you like the picture on my post. I really enjoyed seeing yours, too! Its so much more fun to see who we are all writing about.

Have a great week!!

Living Beyond said...

FABULOUS!!! Forgiveness is huge and something that I have had to work on as as my DH b/c neither of us are perfect, although I do tend to see as more prefect these days lol!! Thank you for your lovely post. I love your blog it's sooo homey - I'll be back - thanks for the visit!