Dr. Wall continues his series contrasting two trajectories for marriage: Living as roommates or living as husband and wives, by commenting on the nature of true love. It’s the only way to go. The options aren’t very appealing. This is part two on “Love With Dignity and Grace.” For part one click here. To start the series on Living As Roommates click here.
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.
In yesterday’s blog I defined the love needed in marriages that last AND work as loving each other with dignity and grace we don’t deserve.The bottom line is none of us deserves love because we are lost and without a shepherd.We hurt our spouse intentionally and unintentionally.We say things we shouldn’t say.We don’t say things we should say.We do things we shouldn’t have done.We don’t do things we should have done.ALL of us.There is not one of us who can cast the first stone.
This goes back the to the fundamental teaching in the Lord’s Prayer, to forgive as you have been forgiven by God. Spread the love around, folks. God’s forgiven you (If you let Him, that is. He’s not going to force His forgiveness on you! The greatest gift of all rejected? All because of a little pride? I don’t believe all that God crap! Won’t you look naked on judgment day?) so now you need to follow your Father’s example and forgive others. It’s hardest to forgive the one sleeping next to you. Even harder to forgive the person who SHOULD be sleeping next to you and isn’t for whatever internecine warfare reasons.
In that blog I suggested that married couples who live as roommates don’t get this. They only can be nice if their spouses are nice to them. The Bible calls this “stiffnecked of heart.” I call it selfish or being self-absorbed. You call it: I can’t live like this any more.
No, duh?No one can live like that for sure.No one can live with someone without a forgiving spirit.You ain’t got that you ain’t got much.I’d be careful, if I were you, that somehow you are more righteous than your spouse.There’s more than one verse in the Bible about that.Something about you’ll be judged the way you mete it out.Something like that (Speaking of Judgment Day, we’re going to have a few people surprised as Hell as to who won that bet).You’ve hurt your spouse, too.You don’t know how many ways you’ve hurt them.You don’t deserve your spouse’s love.He or she doesn’t deserve your love.We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.So give it up, already.Give it up for forgiveness.Give it up for loving your spouse with dignity and grace even thought he or she doesn’t deserve it.
You say you can’t let her off the hook. You have to hold that jerk accountable. You have too much pain. If you forgive he won’t know how much he hurt you. Forgiveness minimizes the wrong done. You are bound and determined to have Judgment Day now!! And YOU ARE THE JUDGE!!! Like, ah, who appointed you?
Do you have any idea under heaven, how much you have hurt your spouse and how much you don’t deserve your spouse’s love? Do you? You think you are the only person who’s ever been hurt? And then you use that hurt to justify hurting others and that that doesn’t matter? Hey, come on. It’s time for a little reality check here.
Your spouse is in pain, too. You’ve hurt him or her. In spades. Lots. So much stuff you couldn’t get low enough to crawl out of here if it was revealed to you, which by the way, on Judgment Day it will be revealed to you and it won’t look all innocent.
The humble know this.So they love their spouses even though their spouses don’t deserve it.They love with a love for which they would like to be loved.It isn’t easy to love someone when you’re hurting.It’s much easier to withdraw or to lash back.
But let’s just say, hypothetically, that you figured this out.You had some sort of aha moment, you met your Maker, you crossed your Rubicon and you decided to love your spouse with a love he or she doesn’t deserve.What would happen then?
-Your heart would get bigger
-You would start to grow up and mature before your eyes (Hey, it’s not fun living like an 8 year old in a grow-up’s body)
-Your loved one’s would respect you (Or scoff at you, I suppose. But if you take this notion of loving despite not deserving it seriously, you’ll love them anyway! Ha! Look at you!)
-Your loved one’s would look up to you
-Your kids would find it easier to follow your example (or not. But they won’t be able to use your bad example as an excuse any more!)
-Over time the hurts from the past would heal. Not today, but over time.
-Your spouse would learn from your example how to love you even though you don’t deserve it either (Or not. But if you are loving others even though they don’t deserve it as a life style, you will be able to handle it, because you serve a Greater Master. You’re NOT just living for yourself anymore. Worshipping your navel is such a shallow god.)
-You would have learned from your mistakes
-Your marriage would improve over time
-You would find strength of character and be able to hold your head high. You’d be self-confident (Nothing withers confidence like resentment. People avoid people with axes to grind.)
-Your patience would grow
-You would have a lighter load because you don’t have to bear the sins of everyone who hurt you around as baggage anymore! Wouldn’t that be nice!
-You’d take responsibility for your life and quit blaming your frickin’ parents or spouse or your X for all your problems or expect the government or church or your parents or spouse or kids to rescue you
-You’d be fun to be around! You could even laugh. In case you haven’t figured this out, no one likes to hang around a person that takes offense at everything. Even your spouse might want to hang out with you! Or make love to you! Or be nice to you! But no. You love your frowns! Because you’ve been hurt, Man. Stop it! Just stop it!
-You’d develop a spiritual life, because you can’t live generously like this without a little gas in your tank
-You’d find yourself actually LIKING your spouse!Those things that used to bug you?You’ll actually find them endearing in some way.Because no one’s perfect, remember?You’re done keeping score.
-You’ll DO loving things.Then, after a while, you’ll feel loving things.Keep in mind, you do, then you feel.If it’s the other way around, you may as well get your lawyer on speed dial, because feelings are as fleeting as the wind.And sometimes feelings are flat out wrong.Perseverance saves marriages.Screw loving feelings. The road to Hell is paved with the bodies of people that divorced over that selfish drive.What we need are some people that will love anyway.Even though we don’t deserve it.Neither of us.
-And on Judgment Day…well, things will look different then, too.
Well done. My good and faithful servant.
For the first blog on Love With Dignity and Grace:
For the first blog about Love With Dignity And Grace see:
Dr. Wall continues his series on living as married roommates vs. living as husband and wife by looking at just a few of the consequences of divorce. Married roommates too often divorce without ever learning really how to love.
For the next blog, which follows up on this one see:
Dr. Wall responds to a reader’s questions regarding our last blog on “Loving With Dignity And Grace, Part II.” The reader asks what good is this love if it is not returned? This question really gets at the heart of what it means to enjoy your life vs. living in a private hell.
For other blogs in this series on living as roommates vs. husband and wife click here.
The first blog in this series summarizes the various ways couples live as roommates instead of as husband and wife:
In one of Dr. Wall’s earliest blogs he looked at the difference between real love and feeling love:
In the following blog Dr. Wall mocks the idea that your spouse will never change:
In another earlier blog (from March, 2009) Dr. Wall explains a powerful secret in letting go of past hurts in marriage: