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Thursday, June 12, 2014

A lover will outwork a worker every time.

In this third post on the issue of needs in marriage, I want to examine the issue of unmet needs a little further.

My last post, When Needs Go Unmet, I encouraged you to embrace the notion of loving your spouse radically by focusing mostly on what you can give rather than on what you are (or are not) getting. This is the very kind of radical, unconditional love Jesus gives to us.

Let me repeat myself. I'm not saying it's easy. It's not at all easy when you feel like you are the one doing most of the giving.

There is something that can help you keep on giving selflessly and hang on until the breakthrough comes in your marriage.

It's all in how you see yourself.

Which One Are You?

Are you mostly a lover or mostly a worker?

A worker usually does what he or she does in order to get something in return. In the job world that's called a paycheck (yes, I know people work for other reasons as well - that's not the point). In the marriage world you may work to get your spouse to change or to get them to give you what you need. It might be that you are working to get love. You may even be working because you know it's the right thing to do or so that you can win the badge of being the "good spouse."

The worker is motivated by external forces.

A lover does what he or she does for love's sake. A lover is compelled to surrender, sacrifice and serve by the love that burns inside. A lover does all for the sake of intimacy, not for the sake of gain.

The lover is motivated by internal forces.

More Than Emotion

Being a lover doesn't mean you allow your emotions to dictate. Love is more than an emotion. Emotions are fickle and fleeting. You can't rely on them.

The kind of genuine love I am talking about is deep conviction that drives daily choices.

Love looks through what appears to be true and chooses to stare into the truth. What are the truths a lover can look to?
  • The truth is that love, real love, is found in the face of Jesus
  • The truth is that as a believer, you have that very love inside of you
  • The truth is that you do not have to be ruled by your emotions, but can be ruled by the Holy Spirit
  • The truth is that you can take every thought captive, and can take it to trial by the discernment of the Holy Spirit
  • The truth is that the covenant you share with your spouse is a supernatural one
  • The truth is that God is for your marriage and he is by nature a restorer, a redeemer and a reconciler
  • The truth is that you and your spouse are one, and that makes your marriage different from every other relationship in your life
A Lover is First a Beloved

I mentioned this last time, but it bears repeating. The best way to allow your heart to be transformed into a lover is by first realizing that you are beloved.
We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19 (NIV)
Allow your heart to be wrecked by the One who gave all to have you as his own.

Yes, eventually you still have to do the work. But if you can allow your heart and mind to be transformed from that of a worker to that of a lover, you will be able to work longer, harder and with more genuine joy than you can imagine.

And the truth is, a lover will outwork a worker every time.

If you haven't yet, please do me a favor by 
answering my poll.

image credit: mrpuen /


Anonymous said...

"Are you mostly a lover or mostly a worker?"

For the first part of our marriage I was definitely more of a worker. But now both of us are mostly lovers. I think there is always the flesh that rages to pull us back to works; but the more we become like a lover, the stronger we get. I know immediately when I'm being tempted by my flesh because I start to hear phrases in my head like, "That's not fair." Or, the ever popular, "What about me." It's at this moment that I shift my gears out of emotion and focus in the right direction: on truth.

Anonymous said...

I think your earlier posts on "what if" help with this. Like, "What if I was in this completely out of being head over heels in love! What if I was the amazing lover and not such a worker! What if I could be so full of love that it spills over on my spouse in amazing ways!?" So thankful that you are mostly a lover!! Jenni Means

Paul Byerly said...

Scott - this is brilliant! I see the worker and the love all the time, but I have never put it in such clear, easy terms before.
May I ever be more of a lover and less a worker!

Anonymous said...

I think being a lover means you express love without any expectations in return whereas a worker insists on something in return...This is what causes disappointment,. I often struggle with this, unfortunately I'm not as much as a lover as I want to be and end up "working" to win my wifes affection and consequently end up disappointed. This is really hard for me.

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