To continue on the topic of marriages, another common problem in marriages is the attempt of one spouse to try to control the other one, through subtle or overt manipulation, perhaps even emotional or physical abuse.  It doesn’t matter whether it is the husband or wife doing this, it is still wrong.  Collateral to this is the desire and/or attempt to change one’s spouse.  This also is wrong.  Regardless of whether one is manipulating, abusing, or trying to change one’s spouse, these actions are not evidence of love.  Love sees and accepts the person as he or she is, “warts and all” as they say.  If you manipulate an abuse your spouse, you are treating them like a possession rather than an equal who is deserving of your respect and honor.  Moreover, if you try to change the person, you are not in love with the person, but rather, you are in love with some image of what you would like the person to be.  True love does not desire to change the person.  Instead, it seeks to find the beauty in the other person and, with God’s help to open your eyes, seeks to cherish that which is good, honorable, and praiseworthy in the other.  Of course, there are some hard cases, people who become committed to paths of sin, and are devoted to their own destruction.  But every person has some worth in them, even if it takes many hours of prayer to God on their behalf, so that the good can be brought out.

One final topic about marriage that I would like to touch on is the expression of love for your spouse.  You’ve probably all heard this old joke.  There was an older couple who had been married many years.  One day, while they were sitting down to a meal, the wife asked the husband, “Why don’t you ever tell me that you love me.”  The man thought for a minute, then answered, “Dear, I told you years ago when we first married that I loved you and that if anything ever changed with that, then I would let you know.”  We can laugh at the irony of the joke, but there’s obviously something wrong in a marriage if those words are seldom or never spoken.  It is not enough to say them once or twice a year with Mother’s or Father’s day cards, birthday cards, and Valentine’s day cards.  Verbal expressions of love for one’s spouse should be spoken at least once a day.  However, there are other ways to express love.  In his bestseller The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, first published in 1995, Gary Chapman revealed the five ways that we can express love for our spouse (or other loved ones in our life).  The five "love languages" are gifts, quality time, words of affirmation (encouragement and telling them that you love them), acts of service, and physical touch. 

Men tend to focus on the acts of service, thinking that, if they keep the wife’s car in good working condition and perform all the necessary maintenance or if they complete various chores around the house, then their wives will already know that they are loved.  While these may be well-meaning gestures and may be evidence of love, they may not communicate love adequately in a way that the wife will perceive as loving.  The important thing, according to the book, is to find out which of these love languages mean the most to your loved one.  Consequently, although you may continue to do the things that you think express love such as maintenance on the car, you must also make sure to do those things which meet your spouse’s view of what truly expresses love.  And you cannot assume that you know.  When you ask your spouse, you may be surprised at the answer.  This applies equally to wives as well as husbands.  Women tend to be more emotionally aware than men.  But if the wife’s expression of love does not meet the husband’s love language, even if she is moving mountains to show love in other areas, then the husband may feel neglected and unloved.  This is why it is so important to communicate with your spouse, and to discover ways to bless him or her with what is pleasing in their eyes, doing those things which they will perceive as expressing love. 

I had intended to finish today, but I still want to discuss parenting, so I will address that tomorrow.  I pray that you will have a blessed day, walking in the pleasure and love of our Amazing Lord. 

 


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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