Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Inside And Out

This man I married, we are of course opposites in so many ways.

He’s easy-going.
I’m impassioned (reckless) about most all I do.
Photo from Unsplash

He thinks before he speaks.
I talk too much.

He easily stays up late, late, late.
My best time is early. Really early.

He has an aversion to conflict which can leave issues to smolder under the surface.
I’d rather get things out in the open. Then I’m over it. Forever. This approach can cause extra, perhaps even unnecessary tension, leaving other people not over it. Forever.

He does not like change.
I'm more adaptable to change, but not super sensitive to those who are not.

Growing up, he moved on average, every two years.
The first eighteen years of my life, were lived in one home.

For high school graduation he got a Camaro. (Which he loved.)
For high school graduation I got a wicker chair. (Which I loved.)

His idea of unwinding is an overstuffed chair, in front of a television.
I verbally process to unwind.

Add to these fun facts a long, arduous, somewhat annoying list of other differences.

Not the least of which, would be the fact that I arrived in the relationship with my emotional baggage bundled neatly and tied with a beautiful ribbon of held together dreams of  “happy-ever-after.”

We didn’t open that package until after the honeymoon.

We’ve talked about it before, but it is worth mentioning again…. our honeymoon suite was a romantic getaway for four.

I don’t know of another couple who shared this celebratory trip with children.

Over two decades later, it’s a miracle that we are, where we are.

For all of our contrasts, we did two foundational things that were important: We both had placed our faith in Jesus Christ and we made a promise that is legal and binding.

In and of themselves, those two things aren't magic, but the reality of them gave us a place to land when things were not going well.

We were new to sharing lives, spiritual infants, packing emotional baggage, wrapped in selfish human bodies, bound by a covenant to love each other for better-or-worse.

And there is almost always the worse, before it gets to the better.

I am convinced that God has a sense of humor to use marriage to make us holy, more than happy.

He uses marriage as a living, breathing, illustration of His love for us.

The problem with learning to truly love another person? We mostly loved ourselves more.

We were willing to serve the other if we first got served.

Willing to forgive the other if they asked for forgiveness first.

We might move to meet expectations, if we were getting our expectations met first.

Most days we were committed to being married, yet lived lives that were going different directions and intersected at the checkbook.

I believe we were like many married couples. We wanted to have the kind of relationship that was supportive, loving and tender. The kind of love that looked like Jesus-kind-of-love.

But selfishness is the opposite of love. 

Wanting to be served is the opposite of being a servant.

Truth? I did many things, thinking they were for the Lord, which were most likely done for selfish reasons. Too often I was sitting in church, but not living the example of what that means.

This I know. If it isn't done in love, for God's glory, it doesn't count in heaven. 

The good, good news, is that God can redeem lost time when a heart turns toward Him.

At some beautiful point, there was a shift in our hearts that took us from selfish living, to seeking the well-being of the other.

It was never about our differences, but about our togetherness and how we lived love toward the other. 

It began when we displayed deep respect and being  for the other. A sense of reading the others heart and asking, “What can I do for you right now.”

Being served made it easy for the other to want to serve.

If one chose to love when it was hard, it made it easier for the other to move toward love.

Too often, we lived as if we were on opposite teams. As if  we were players in an individual sport.

All or nothing. Win or lose.

Me against him. Him against me.

In our immaturity we didn't grasp that when one of us lost, the other lost too.

We didn't understand we were on the same side.

When you are one, what happens to the other––happens to you both.

We are on the same team, going the same direction. A dance of give and take and being strong when the other is weak. Cords twisted together which are not easily broken. 

And the more we understood this, the more we actually lived this.

We either win together or we lose together.

Our goal isn't to be alike, our goal is to be together. Together with all of our differences and dreams, being lived for the glory of God.

Not to collect hurts, or assign shame, or issue condescending remarks.

Not to criticize, but to encourage.

Not perfection, or to change the other, but to embrace one another and spur one another on to be the best we can be.


To love and to be loved through valleys and tears, pulls back the holy veil and reveals the gospel being lived out in our lives.

Unity is the picture. The Church is the picture.

Single and married people both, get to work on these relational basics, but married people generally get to practice from sun up to the falling in bed, as they rub up against the imperfect person who shares their home.

Marriage is a living picture of  God's grace. His unconditional love. His complete forgiveness. His living through our lives and changing us at a soul level to live love like He did.

When we moved from wanting to be served, to having the heart of a servant, we began to grow up and grow together. 

Our marriages, as well as our individual lives, when lived for Jesus, display to the world the truth of  the gospel of Christ.

What is on the inside of us, will be lived on the outside of us.

Photo from Unsplash *Quote*

Are you single or married? 
What do you find the most challenging in the everyday loving like Jesus?
Share an encouragement?


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© Rhonda Quaney