Typically my DH and I ride together to work since we both work at the same company, but last week and this week we have been driving separate since there isn't as much work in his department as there is in mine. I have been listening to my favorite radio station K-LOVE and they have been talking about the book, The Love Dare. They have been talking about the relationships between men and women. It would really apply to all of our relationships, family, friends, co-workers, customers. As Christians we are called to love one another as Jesus loves us (John 15:12). With Valentine's fast approaching and everyone thinking about their loved ones. I thought it would be a good time to study why men and women behave the way they do to one another. It is a bit of a power struggle at times. Especially for married couples (please note that this is just my opinion).
Let's look at Genesis 3:
Adam and Eve have allowed the serpent (Satan) to beguile them and thus disobey God by eating the fruit of the Tree of Life. (Genesis 3:1-13)
This displeased God greatly. (Genesis 3:14) So much so that God put a curse on the man and the woman. Genesis 3:15 "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise they head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." There will always be conflict between men and women, no matter how much we love each other. Genesis 3:16 "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception: in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and they desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." God made it so that the man would have responsibility over the woman, wherein she would have to be answerable to the man for her actions. Genesis 3:17 "17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded the, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life, 18 Thorns also, and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field:" I took this also to mean that there would be struggle in his marriage as the "field" of the bearing of his seed. There will always be conflicts between men and women. That's not to say that we can't overcome them. Through Christ's grace we are forgiven of the original sins of Adam and Eve. We are still human and we still bear those original curses, but the Lord wants a relationship with us so he has offered us a chance to overcome those curses. He gave us instructions in the bible that tell us exactly how to overcome these obstacles. (What??? I have to read my bible?? YEPPERS!!) We just have to be willing to work to live in the image of Christ and treat each other as he would have treated us. Not to be cliche, but we need to always be asking ourselves "What Would Jesus Do?" That's such a great phrase. It is so hard not to use it over and over because it makes a very good point. The way we live and behave should be an absolute reflection of the light of Christ. People should know we follow Christ by our actions and behaviors.
We can apply all this to our marriages and other relationships in our lives. Let's look at marriages for the purpose of my bible study. Going back to the Love Dare. It is a challenge that lasts 40 days (and hopefully much longer after you learn to redirect your behavior toward your spouse). Each day you have a new challenge in how you deal with the trials and temptations in your relationship. The book stems from the movie Fireproof where a couple dares themselves to save their dying marriage. I have not purchased the book yet, but the idea of it intrigues me greatly. Now getting my DH to participate may be another matter, but it would be really good for both of us and our children. We're not sinking by any means, but we do need to center our marriage more around Christ and how He would handle situations and not our human sides.
Let's talk about patience. Has your spouse ever said something to you and lightning quick....you respond with a retort of your own equal to or even more biting than the one that your spouse dealt. You thought, "Ha! That'll get him/her!" Then later you totally regret what you said and you have to go back, apologize and try to repair the damage that was caused by those words. Sometimes it can be repaired, but depending on what was said, sometimes it cannot be repaired. Then you have a problem. I know that I have this problem and I really have to fight to not say something back that I know will hurt deep. Real deep. In that instance, a deep breath, walking away, redirecting yourself is the best way to avoid making that possibly fatal mistake of saying those words you will regret later. If you can keep it from getting to the explosion level, you are better off. You won't have to do "damage control" and you both will be better for it. Now, this takes commitment from both parties. The other party has to be willing to not jab and poke and push buttons. That goes both ways. We all have started an argument at one time or another.
This all goes back to John 15:12-13 "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." In Genesis 2: 24 it says "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Whoa!!! What?? That means that when I am jabbing at my husband that I am jabbing at myself! Think about it this way too. Ephesians 5:22-25 says "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the had of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." Whoa??!! What!! That means when I jab at my husband, I am also jabbing at Christ! Dude...that's not good! God doesn't mean that wives should submit themselves as doormats, but that they should defer to the husband as the husband has to defer to Christ. Yes, wives also have to defer to Christ, but if a wife is defering to her husband and he makes a bad decision, he is ultimately responsible for that decision with Christ. Wow. We are held accountable for our own actions, yes, however, if we make our own decisions with Christ in mind and as He would have us choose, we will reap the rewards for it. Having respect for each other and not provoking each other is definitely how Christ would want us to behave. I hope I have been able to bring some light.