Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Love Dare - Day Twenty-Six

Love is Responsible

Today will be hard. This day could be a milestone in your marriage if you allow it to be.  Today is about personal responsibility.  It’s something we all agree others should have, but we struggle to maintain it ourselves.  Over the past few decades, there’s been a decline in personal responsibility.  More and more, people seem less likely to acknowledge their own mistakes. We are so quick to justify our motives.  So quick to deflect criticism.  So quick to find fault – especially with our spouse, who is always the easiest one to blame.

We tend to believe that our views are correct, or at least much more correct than our mate’s.  And we don’t believe that anybody, give our same set of circumstances, would act much differently than we have.  As far as we’re concerned, we’re doing the best we can.  And our spouse just ought to be glad we’re as good to them as we are.

But love doesn’t pass the blame so easily or justify selfish motives.  Love is not nearly as concerned with its own performance as with other’s needs.  When love takes responsibility for its actions, it’s not to prove how noble you’ve been but rather to admit how much further you have to go.

Love doesn’t make excuses.  Love keeps working to make a difference – in you and in your marriage. That’s why the next time you’re in an argument with your spouse, instead of working up your comebacks, stop and see if there’s something worth listening to in what your mate is saying.  What might happen in your relationship if instead of passing blame, you first admitted your own wrongs?

Are you taking responsibility for this person you chose for yourself as the love of your life?  How deliberate are you about making sure your spouse’s needs are met?  Or are you only concerned with your mate fulfilling yours?  Love calls us to take responsibility for our partner in marriage.  To love them.  To honor them.  To cherish them.

This doesn’t mean you’re always wrong and your spouse is always right.  This is not a demand that you become a doormat. But if there is something that’s not right between you and God, or you and your spouse, then that should be the first priority.

The problem is, to do it sincerely you must swallow your pride and seek forgiveness regardless of how your spouse responds. They should forgive you, but your responsibility does not lie with their decision.  Admitting your mistakes is your responsibility.  If they have wronged you, leave that for them to deal with at another time.

Ask God to show you where you have failed in your responsibility, then get it right with Him first. Once you’ve done that, you need to get right with your spouse.  It may be the most difficult thing you’ve ever done, but it is crucial to taking the next step in your marriage and with God.  If you are sincere, you may be surprised at the grace and strength God give you when you take this step.

Today’s Dare

Take time to pray through your areas of wrongdoing.  As for God’s forgiveness, then humble yourself enough to admit them to your spouse.  Do it sincerely and truthfully.  Ask your spouse for forgiveness as well.  No matter how they respond, make sure you cover your responsibility in love.  Even if they respond with criticism, accept it by receiving it as counsel.

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