Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How to have the spouse of your DREAMS...

I couldn’t believe it, I had married the man of my dreams!  Then the honeymoon ended, Brian and I settled into our tiny apartment and I began to realize how much of a slob he was.  He did not three-fold and center the hand towel over the rack.  Everyone knows you three-fold and center the hand towel!  He did not pair and line up his shoes in the closet.  He shoved things in drawers and cabinets.  He also clicked his toes.  Toe clicking is an annoying habit in which the first and second toe rub together making a loud “click.”  How could I live like this?  I began to pray diligently, begging God to change Brian. 

Life lesson:  God loves change

I remember hearing Barbara Rainey talk one day about how she wanted Dennis to change.   I eagerly listened starving to glean from her expertise.  I was ready to write down the formula which would produce instant change for my desperate situation.  Imagine my shock when I heard her explain, “God said, I am NOT going to change Dennis, I am going to change your heart toward Dennis.”  I had been set up!  I immediately began to squirm and crawl.  My standard of right was ME!  Why couldn’t God just change Brian to be more like me?

Slowly I began to understand God wants to teach me to love Brian by changing ME, because I am NOT the correct standard of right, God is.  Romans 12:2 says, “Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.”  Paul reminds us not to worry about the things of the world, but to allow God to change us.  God began to transform the way I thought, and what I valued.

I John 4:10 explains, “This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”  God had a plan to change our lives by sacrificing His most valuable treasure, His Son.  This selfless act allows us the ability to be transformed to the likeness of Christ.  When we lay down our life as a sacrifice, we can overlook much more than messy tendencies and annoying habits, we can forgive sins and great offenses.  This transformational lesson is one I would need to live during many difficult days of marriage.  I John 4:11 says, “Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.”  How much did God love us?  So much that He gave it all, and forgave it all.  How much should we love our spouse?  You got it, give and forgive it all. 

Fast forward 17 years, Brian doesn’t really bug me much at all.   We have both changed.  I don’t even hang up the hand towel most of the time.  I sometimes forget to squeegee the shower and don't rinse the sink after I brush my teeth.  (horrid, I know!)   Brian is probably a bit more organized today than he was years ago.  He doesn’t click his toes much, but now we have three more little toe clickers in the family!  None of it really matters, my priorities are different.  My mind is changed.  God did give me the man of my dreams, when I surrendered my dreams to Him.  I rejoice and testify as to how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.

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