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Thursday, October 24, 2013
Our love grows far more secure when we accept the things about our spouses that make them who they are. (Grace Filled Marriage p. 66-67)
I'm digging into part of Tim Kimmel's great new book, Grace Filled Marriage. (Click the sidebar link to buy it on Amazon and at the same time help support this ministry!)
In this short series we are looking at one chapter of the book, a chapter that explores how the human heart longs for security. Specifically, we want the security of knowing we are loved and accepted. (Read the introductory post here)
Can you imagine what your marriage would be like if neither of you ever doubted each other's love? It would no doubt fill your marriage with more intimacy, trust and passion.
But how do you help your spouse to become secure in your love? Dr. Kimmel proposes three key ingredients:
- Acceptance of who they are at the core of their being
- Caring about the things they care about - shared interest and shared honor
- Consistently show affection
All three of these have their roots in grace, and I'll be addressing each one in separate posts.
We'll start with how grace compels us to accept each other for who we really are.
Accept the "Me" in Me
Dr. Kimmel explains:
We feel insecure when our spouse refuses to accept the things about us that are simply us. I’m not talking about weaknesses that can stand improvement. Nor am I talking about bad habits or unacceptable behavior. I’m talking about the things about us that aren’t right or wrong but just are. They’re our personality quirks, mannerisms, physical abilities, and body types . . . to name a few. They’re the things that make each of us one of a kind. P. 66
God uniquely crafted each of us. While we can agree with that in principle, most of us have things we wish were different about our spouses. The problem is that when these things are not just annoying little habits but part of who your spouse is, it creates and/or reinforces deep insecurity in your spouse. Worse, it causes them to be insecure in your love.
It requires grace to accept that your spouse was created as he or she is for a purpose! Even the dimensions of their being that we might perceive as weaknesses, God can use for his glory and for his Kingdom. He can even use those same things to bring blessing to your life. His grace not only covers us, but redeems our every shortcoming. (No, I'm not implying that you should just overlook sin or wrong behaviors!)
Help Me See the "Me" in Me
We have the opportunity (I would add the responsibility and the privilege) in marriage to display the grace and love of God to the one we are pledged to for life. Part of the redemptive role of marriage is to help your spouse see themselves as God does, to be a God-mirror to them. It's part of helping him or her become all that God intends them to be.
But to be a good God-mirror for your spouse requires two things. First, you must understand and know for yourself the very nature of God's love and grace. Second , you need a revelation of how God views your spouse. These are lifelong pursuits and require a continual revelation by the Holy Spirit.
Appreciating the Value of Opposites
Chances are, at least from my observations, that you and your spouse are pretty different. Even setting aside the vast differences between men and women in general (and yes, these are real, regardless of what feminism may purport), it's true that opposites attract. I know it's true for my wife and I. Though we share many core values in common, our personalities and strengths are quite different from each other. And I love that.
I love how her outgoing nature and people skills help bring me out of my shell and enjoy people more. I love how her gracious optimism counterbalances my innate skepticism. I enjoy everything we do together more because of how she embraces life so enthusiastically. She just makes everything more fun.
I can choose to view our many differences as a hindrance or I can view them as a blessing. Therein lies an important choice for every husband and wife. By valuing who she is as a person, who God made her to be, instead of denigrating her over these things, I accrue the benefits of our union, our oneness. .
And it goes both ways. I am equally secure in her love, because I know that she makes the same choice to value me for the areas where I am quite different from her..
The truth is that the two of you together are much greater than either of you as individuals. Lean into that reality and communicate it to each other regularly.
By the way, we get the same kind of benefit when we choose to embrace our gender differences in that same way.
So tell me, what are the differences between you and your spouse that you deeply value? When was that last time you communicated this to your spouse?
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