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We can’t forget how helpful it is to hear the wisdom of our other halves. Below is a message from Heather Marie Harrison, wife of Daniel Harrison posted on her personal blogging page regarding some personal tips for marriage.
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32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful… -Jesus Christ, Luke 6:32-36
I wasn’t thrilled that this night’s lesson on Spiritual Growth was on the subject of “love.” Which is typically contrary to my nature, but this confession reflects the state my heart was in. I attended class dutifully, but with a muted and unengaged mind– cloaked with disenchantment, bitterness, and pride. I had once described this rut I was in to a confidant as being “exhausted” in walking “in love.”
Three and a half years of marriage and a foundational, grueling nearly 1-year-long engagement to my spouse had cultivated a sickened heart full of “hope deferred” (Prov 13:12). Although my husband and I were confident the Lord had set us apart to be one another’s, we were infantile in effectively knowing how to love and care for one another. I was swayed to and fro by any wind of “doctrine” or belief concerning my husband based on the circumstances of our love. My justice-geared mind was plagued with assessments:
I’m his wife; he needs to love me; he’s not loving me;
he is loving me, now; he’s not again;
he’s not being Christ-like;
he’s so good to me; he’s horrible!
For so long, I had been calculating the hurt my husband had caused me and, unknowingly, tallied a debt in my heart toward him. Tweet This: So much so that when my husband would display a genuine act of love, my gluttonous heart devoured it as payment toward the debt he owed me. It was impossible for me to appreciate the gift of love for what it truly was.
And through the balm of this Scripture, if there were any way possible to hear the condition of one’s heart, you would hear a groaning sound as a piece of my hardened-heart turned upon hardened-heart relaxing into a beating muscle. Through this verse, the Lord revealed the entitlement I carried.
Why do you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount” (verse 34).
Jesus showed me I had been lending my love to my husband in order to “get back the same amount.” I had become an entitled wife. Through the truth of Scripture, I had to humbly come to the conclusion that this “lending” formula did not work. With my entitlement addressed, the Lord gently and lovingly led me to steady ground: Heather, your ability to love is not affected by anyone else’s inability to love you. He further would ask the question He would ask me time and again (to which I would abandon the pursuit of change), if I never changed the person you invest your love into, would you be at peace to still love them? He challenged me to turn my “lending” love into “giving” love. And at the completion of the Scripture that struck my heart, the Lord addressed my innate sense of (high) justice.
“[God] is kind to the ungrateful and the evil” (verse 36).
He completely disarmed me. Every defense that I had raised in order to protect my beliefs, my rights, my needs, (my, my, my…), God called me to lay down every one that had been stunting my ability to walk in Christ’s love. The Lord brought me back to the covenant I had made to my husband and showed me that the covenant was a promise that I would love my spouse for his lifetime; based on my role in this promise, the covenant that I had entered was not about a promise for me to be loved for my lifetime.
I can gratefully say that this building block became a part of my life… and unexpectedly, by the grace of God, became adopted by husband. It wasn’t the tainted aim of the reformation of my love, but it became a result of what the Lord had done in our life.
More from heather @ heathermarieharrison.wordpress.com