Tag Archives: maturity

Losing is winning in marriage

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Give in to your spouse a thousand times. That’s they way you win — by losing.

Marriage rewards an overflow of joy to those who manage to figure out its elusive secrets. The road to happiness is selflessness. It’s ironic: you get what you want (not everything) by giving up what you want.

Of course, newlyweds have all kinds of expectations. Maturity comes when we let go of those expectations. No one is good enough. If you divorce this one because of problems, the next will have a different set of problems. And maybe you would be courageous enough to recognize the principal problem is you.

And me.

I’m the principal problem in my marriage. If I work on changing me, on being more loving for my wife, she’ll be happier. And when she gets happier, she just automatically works on making me happier.

The picture is of Jenny and Josh, graduates and former students of mine from the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica. There are all kinds of reasons why they shouldn’t get married (money, youth, etc.) But I applaud their go-for-it attitude. If you are determined to make it work, it probably will.

 

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The way to maturity is to become like kids

Jesus joyJesus says plainly: Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven — Matt. 18:3 NIV.

US researcher Robert Provine has found that kids laugh 300 times a day. It sounds to me like Jesus wants us to have more joy (I confess I myself am overly serious).

What’s surprising is that 1 Peter 2:2 exhorts Christians to “grow up” in their salvation. So it’s clear that Christian maturity involves becoming like children: they don’t harbor grudges, they love freely, they laugh.

Only so much maturity

diving statue of libertyBut now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written. — Ex. 32:32.

Hmmmmm. I’m not there yet. Here Moses is taking the hit for Israel’s bad against God. Paul similarly wishes to lose his own salvation if by it he could save his countrymen, the Jews (Ro. 9:3).

time of manI was a missionary for a long time. I sacrificed. I gave. I put others first. I grew and matured, but I never got to this level. I never wished my own eternal damnation if that could save a people. My idea was and is to go to Heaven myself and to take as many with me as possible.

I come up short though. My pastor, Rob Scribner, said Moses and Paul take responsibility for their people. I have prayed like Daniel assuming the collective guilt of my people, but never did I rescind my individual salvation in favor of another. My love for others stops shy of that.

I suppose Moses and Paul both had the notion that they wouldn’t lose their salvation by saying this. They were PLEASING God by aligning their hearts with His; He gave His Son for us to be saved.  Still, I can’t get myself to mouth this vow.

Do you feel responsibility for others?

Clumsy prayers

Now happily married for 22 years.

I had three girlfriends. They broke my heart.

Then I had two girlfriends — at the same time. I broke their hearts. I think I was trying to get some kind of weird revenge, unconsciously. But I didn’t feel good about it. As a Christian — a lukewarm one — I knew that what I was doing was wrong. So either way, whether my heart got broken, or I broke hearts, I felt bad, really bad.

With our daughter

Finally something good happened. I got disgusted with the whole darn dating scam and quit totally. I prayed: God, I don’t want to have anything to do with girlfriends anymore. Just drop down from the Heaven my wife so that one day I’ll open my door and there she’ll be. The prayer contained more bitterness than faith.

The whole family today

A year and a half later, I opened my door, and there was Dianna. How she wound up there is a story for another blog. Clumsily, I had stumbled on a truth: You can trust God even for the finding of the ultimate match-up. Also: Prayers don’t have to be perfect. Clumsy prayers are better than no prayer.