Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Love Doesn't Keep Count

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It is nearly the end of February, the month in which culturally we celebrate romantic love. I've enjoyed writing about "close knit" marriages, but before we completely move on to other things, I wanted to write about one more thing. It is heavy on my mind because I struggle with it daily... Love doesn't keep count.

As kids, my dad was often frustrated with my siblings and I, justly so, for keeping count. "Why doesn't she have to do this chore too?" A whining voice. "I've been working longer and harder!" The ugly glare. "It is so unfair!" Continue the grumblings.

Why didn't I learn the lesson from him, so patiently taught, way back then? "In a family we don't keep count. Everyone has their share, and while it may seem they are doing less now, it is probably not true. We each have different responsibilities. Worry about yourself." All I can say is that I am selfish. Knowing that we all have selfish sin natures, I am confident that this isn't just me.

This is how keeping count might sound among "grown-ups." "I've already changed 5 diapers today. Do you think you can handle this one?!?" Tension rising. "This baby has been fussy all day, and I can't take it anymore! Your turn to be the parent!" Frustration erupting. "I work hard, long hours all day, and when I get home I think I deserve a little peace and quiet." Whining isn't a habit exclusive to children.

When we keep careful, calculated track on what our husband has or hasn't done, building a thick wall brick by brick of animosity, we are far from loving him. Usually our cases are skewed. While we may notice that we are the only one handling a cranky child, or the hundredth diaper of the day, we blindly block out the far more balanced reality.

The truth is my husband works incredibly hard each day. Every morning he rises early to seek the Lord's face, then he leads his family in devotions. He goes out into a dark and sin-wrecked work place, battling the world, the flesh and the devil with little to encourage him. He cares for all things car related, makes sure the gas tank is always full for me, and fixes things around the house. Finances are a constant burden on his already heavy load, as he is strongly committed to me staying home with our daughter, even though it's far from the easiest choice.

I'd like to suggest that if you're keeping accounts, your perspective might be a bit colored too. What if instead of keeping tallies of wrongs, we made tallies of rights? What if we sought to thank and praise our husband for all of the things he does do? What if we made a conscientious decision to stop taking out our personal frustrations on the man who means most to us?

Because that's what keeping count is in the end, isn't it? Our frustrations in life leading us to vent and carry out our anger on someone else, whomever may be closest. It isn't fair to your husband, and it certainly isn't honoring to the Lord.

May God give us grace to love like He loves us, with longsuffering tenderness and compassionate forgiveness.

 "Love never gives up.
   Love cares more for others than for self.
   Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
   Love doesn't strut,
   Doesn't have a swelled head,
   Doesn't force itself on others,
   Isn't always "me first,"
   Doesn't fly off the handle,
   Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
   Doesn't revel when others grovel,
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
   Puts up with anything,
   Trusts God always,
   Always looks for the best,

   Never looks back,
   But keeps going to the end."
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (The Message)

4 comments:

  1. Yes, and yes!! Nothing good can ever come of keeping count of wrongs. I do, however, love the idea of keeping track of the "rights!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jessica! I am finding counting "rights" to be a very profitable exercise as of late :).

      Delete
  2. Wow! Absolutely beautiful. Just what I needed. One of my 3in30 goals for April is to "become a better wife." I must admit that one of my weakness is that I keep count. I will remember this post whenever I am tempted to "keep count."

    ReplyDelete
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