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Weekend Devo — Get on the Hope Train

Why is it always me?

Today, I am thrilled to introduce one of my very dear friends, Marsha Harwood. Many of you know Marsha as she is a profound blogger in our community. I met Marsha face-to-face in October at the blogger's retreat. However, I feel like I have been her sister for many years. She loves Jesus. I just pours out of her. She and I have traveled some interesting roads together such as our experience in the Kingdom Assignment. Which by the way, God is still using today. More on that later.

Marsha writes for Exemplify Magazine and specifically about marriage. Her December 16th Q & A article was outstanding. She gave me permission to share it with you today. I bet it will resonate with you as it did me. Be blessed, Lynn

Why is it always me? By Marsha Harwood.

I’ve received several emails over the past few weeks that can basically all be lumped together.

“Why is it always ME that needs to be creative, keep our marriage alive and fresh, give the back rubs, give, give, give?  When is it HIS turn?  I just want to scream sometimes!  Our marriage is give and take; I give and HE takes!  I thought marriage was supposed to be 50/50?”

Many times in my marriage, we’re both busy, overworked, and feel taken for granted by our jobs and unfortunately, each other.  At the end of the day, it’s not a question of keeping track of who had the most stress and pressure, but how can we work as a team and build oneness in our marriage.

Four Reasons Why Marriage isn’t 50%/50%:

  1. 50/50 bases accepting our spouse on performance. If they are putting in what we think is fair, then all’s well.   Performance then becomes what  holds the relationship together and we become the performance judge.
  2. Giving is based on merit. With the “meet me halfway” approach, we give affection only when we feel  he’s earned it.
  3. Motivation for action is based on how each partner feels. As newlyweds, it’s easy to act sacrificially because the pounding heart and romantic feelings fuel the desire to please.  But what happens when those feelings fade? If you don’t feel like doing the right thing, perhaps you won’t do it at all.  Love is an action not a feeling.
  4. We have a tendency to focus on the weaknesses of  our spouse. In a 50/50 marriage,  if we were to list our spouses strengths and weaknesses, sadly we’d find the weaknesses column tipping the scale.

Think about this for a minute: If you are only giving 50% to your marriage, what are you not giving?  Which part of your vows didn’t you really mean?

Ultimately, the 50%/50%  marriage is destined to fail because it is contrary to God’s plan.

100%/100%  – The Oneness Plan

Philippians 2:3: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself.”

A marriage requires a 100% effort from each of us to serve our spouse.

Matthew 22:39 tells us, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Our closest neighbor is the one we wake up to each morning.   And there’s no question about how much we all love ourselves.  Just check out our closets and all the jewelry and beauty products we buy!

The motto of the 100/100 Plan would be:  “I will do what I can to love you without demanding an equal amount in return.”

As soon as you say this, a little voice inside will say, “Yeah but….”  and name some situation that just doesn’t seem fair. It is not the voice of oneness and must be silenced!   Yes, there will be times when he appears to get the advantage in the relationship.  But love requires sacrifice.  Plus, this may be an exercise of growing in grace that the Lord has planned for you right now.  Stick with the 100%/100% Plan and you will see oneness growing in all aspects of your marriage.

Marriage is the union of two imperfect people who in their selfishness, sinfulness, and demands of each other will cause disappointment and hurt. You must put all that off and put on forgiveness, love, and Christ’s command to love even those who don’t at times appear to love you.

We live in a fallen world.  We’ll never have all our expectations met in marriage.  It’s not even Biblical to expect that of our husbands, that’s borderline idolatry.   But if we focus on living more Christ-like, we’ll find we are more and more in love with our husbands and living out our part of the marriage 100% even if he isn’t and be satisfied and content.

Marsha lives deep in the woods of western North Carolina with the love of her life Mike, their dog Lucky, and an occasional bear that comes by for a visit. Married for 35 years, they are blessed with 3children and 6 grandchildren.

She and her husband started Snowbird TEAM Ministries 12 years ago to reach the people of Appalachia for Christ. Her ministry is with at risk teen girls, pregnant teens and counseling women and children who have been abused.  She knows and understands the shame and fear that fills the hearts of abused women and children.

Usually found with a camera nearby and a song on her lips, Marsha enjoys being out in God’s creation. It is her goal in life to live simply, laugh often and to love deeply.

She can be found daily at her blog, Marsha’s Musings.  She is also the editor of Exemplify’s Marriage Channel.

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