Wednesday, June 25, 2014

real talk // loving the stranger

this is an installment of my series on The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller.

catch up on past posts here: 
  the secret of marriage | the power for marriage | the essence of marriage | the mission of marriage

the thing about marriage is that it is still real life. but it is real life where you cannot easily hide. you are exposed to your spouse. as people grow, they change. marriage brings out some things about you that maybe you didn't even know about yourself. and now it is all seen by your spouse. when this happens, it may seem to one spouse that they are married to a stranger.

do you remember the talk about the mission of marriage & how part of the mission is to help each other grow out of sins and into the person God is creating? if we expect this to be part of marriage, then we will expect seasons where our spouse feels like a stranger. and instead of being caught off guard, we will be ready to help our spouse work through it. 

an important thing to remember is that no one else is as hurt by your flaws as your spouse is. because of this, your spouse is more aware of what is wrong with you than anyone ever has been before. marriage doesn't create your weaknesses, but it certainly does reveal them and force you to pay attention to them. since your spouse is the one who is closest to the action, you need to allow him or her to speak into your life and speak to you about your sin. we need to accept each other in love, but also not allowing the other to destroy him or herself with sin. in other words, we need to be like Jesus. 

at the same time, we need to remember that this sin is not permanent. every day both spouses are being shaped by God and growing into their glory-self. because of this, we shouldn't allow our spouses sin to turn us away from them, but instead we should work through the sin together. 

one very important way to love your spouse, is to speak their love language. it is not enough for me to simply show my husband love the way that i want to be shown love, but i need to learn the way that he likes to be shown love. one of my primary love languages is quality time - i really feel like someone loves me if they take the time to spend quality time with me. one of Thomas's primary love languages is touch. he likes to hold hands, hug, and kiss. so it's not enough for me to just spend time with Thomas, but i need to make an effort to hold his hand and hug him because that's how he accepts love. just as Jesus came to earth in a manner we could understand, we need to communicate love to our spouse in a way they understand. 

Tim touched on love being a covenant a few weeks back. and now he explains further why the covenant is so important. the phrase "the honeymoon stage" was thought of for a reason. when you first feel in love, it is an emotional high. but eventually the high wears off and "the honeymoon stage" ends. when this happens, love becomes a choice that you make each day. when this happens, if each spouse has learned how to speak the other's love language, each will feel as if their needs for love are satisfied. if we choose not to speak their love language, we will feel as if our need for love is unmet. 

we talked about speaking into each other's lives and calling out sin, but Tim gives a warning about this as well. because of the relationship of a husband & wife, our words hold great weight and great power. if we speak the truth to our spouse but do not speak it in a loving way, it does not help them, it only destroys them. cutting remarks go deeper than any blade. truth and love are only effective if they are kept together. when we feel loved by our spouse, and they point out a weakness in our life, we will have the security to admit our flaws and work on them. 

in order for truth and love to be kept together, however, both spouses must be good at forgiving and good at repenting. before we confront each other about sin, we must first forgive them. without forgiving them first, the confrontation will be more hurtful than helpful. because Jesus saw our sin and covered it, we can see our spouse's sin but cover it with forgiveness.


23 comments:

  1. I love that you mentioned our words having power - that is one of my favorite verses! Thanks for challenging and encouraging us in our marriages xoxo

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  2. You make such a great point - that we are called to speak truth to each other and call out each other's sin, but must do so lovingly. Separating truth and love can be devastating to any relationship, but especially one as vulnerable as a marriage. The truth can really hurt. But if we share/receive it lovingly, it can heal wounds we may not even know we had. I read somewhere that marriage is a lifelong lesson in forgiveness, which I really believe is so true.

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  3. such a good, good post! :) thank you for sharing this.
    you had a lot of really "kick you in the face" sentences...to sum it up, this was fantastic.

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  4. We've been talking a lot about covenants since we've been studying Ruth in my Bible study. Ruth's pledge to Naomi was an incredible covenant (one that was read at our wedding) and an incredible reminder of the lengths we should go to cover our spouse with forgiveness and grace.

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  5. Beautifully written Robyn. You are so spot on....really enjoyed reading this, it truly encouraged me!

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  6. it's so easy for me to just say things without thinking about the affect they will have first - so that verse is good for my soul! :)

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  7. it is so true, Amy! speaking truth can definitely be done in a harmful way & it's something that i am trying to be more conscious of! i can speak truth but at the same time tear down instead of build up! love is definitely the key when it comes to confronting sin! yes i definitely believe that to be true as well! it is a lifelong process! :)

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  8. p.s. i love what you said about it healing wounds we didn't even know we had! this is so true! when we are just living life by ourselves we may not know certain sins or wounds that exist. but marriage definitely has a way of pointing these things out to us - and what a blessing to receive healing for something you didn't even know needed it!

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  9. yes! that is exactly how i felt when reading this chapter! like i just kept getting kicked in the face :) but needed to! thanks Amy! :)

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  10. that is so neat how it fits in with the Ruth study! :) and i love that you guys had that read at your wedding - what a sweet thing!

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  11. thank you Danica! this chapter definitely did wonders for my soul! :) thanks for your kind words!

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  12. "Truth and love are only effective when they are kept together." I love that! Thank you for this post, a good reminder to me to address things with my husband in a more loving manner.

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  13. One thing jordan and I do is ask each other: have I made you feel loved today? It's super cheesy, but it's nice to have that open conversation about the ways in which we both give and receive love. Because you're right: it's so different for each person.

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  14. really wise words, i should get tim keller's book sometime. thanks for sharing! :)

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  15. Natalie BarlettaJuly 1, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    This is such a beautifully written post :)

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  16. gosh. that line hit me so hard :) i love it too! glad it challenged you, Callie! :)

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  17. that is a great idea! (we are all about cheese here) that's a great way to open up the conversation & continually working on it!

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  18. yes - check it out! this book has challenged me so much!

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  19. thank you Natalie! i am learning loads through this book! :)

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  20. I stumbled across your blog today from the Jack of All Trades Link Up. I just finished my first year of marriage and boy do some of these truths go straight home. The thing that has driven me the most crazy this past year is the fact that I keep hurting the person I care most about in the world with my sin. It has not been his flaws or his sin. It has been heartbreaking to watch my selfishness hurt someone else. Very eye openeing.

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  21. I finally got this book out from the library but have yet to start reading it, definitely going to try this week! I love what you shared about love languages. I think it's so easy to show love in your own love language but definitely takes an effort to show it through your spouses language, it's something I need to constantly remind myself to do.

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  22. nice to "meet" you Ali! :) we just had our first anniversary also! it is neat because i read this before getting married & now am going through it again a year in! it is so challenging!


    i know exactly what you mean! because in marriage our spouse is the closest person to us and unfortunately that means they are exposed to our sin & selfishness. and it does hurt to see ourselves hurt someone when we don't want to (Romans 7) - it is very eye opening and so sanctifying! it is hard but so worth it!

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  23. oh cool!!! well you will definitely be blessed by it when you get to read it! i'm seriously thinking about reading through this each year lol just for reminders of all of this truth! it really is such an effort to learn our spouses love language and speaking to them through that love language definitely has to be intentional!

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