Last evening, as my husband and I were getting ready to leave for our weekly date, our four year old asked me where we were going. I told her, “Daddy and I are leaving for a few hours to have our date.”
“I want to go with you,” she declared. I told her that she couldn’t go along and that she probably wouldn’t enjoy it much anyway. “I know what you do,” she said. “A date is when you just sit, talk business, and eat!”
I am glad to say that she was mistaken! I am so grateful that our dates are far more than just “talking business,” but they are treasured opportunities to share our hearts with each other. When we are able to intimately share our hopes, frustrations, struggles, and future goals, our relationship is strengthened, and we experience a “oneness” with each other. We also enjoy being able to talk about the events of our day, and we find that we are still getting to know each other — even after twenty-one years of marriage. There are times when we DO need to talk business, but I thank God for a husband who truly takes gentle care of my heart and is vulnerable enough to open his heart to me as well.
Recently, I heard that the first five to seven years in a marriage are spent discovering that life isn’t about “ME,” but it is about “US.” When one partner has the mentality that their spouse is supposed to make them HAPPY or COMPLETE, their marriage is headed for a potential disaster. Isn’t it ironic that most divorces happen within those first five to seven years? When you begin to run your marriage like a “business” and forget to care for each other’s hearts, you will quickly become disillusioned and miss the beautiful treasure that God wanted to bless you with.
The other day, our four and three year old daughters were playing on the living room floor when one of them declared, “Fine! If that’s how you are going to act, then I’m not playing with you anymore!” I cringed and quickly went to deal with this pressing issue. We hate seeing this self-centered and “stinking” attitude in our children, but it is even worse when we see the same thing in adults, especially Christian adults! By many actions, there are individuals who are expressing, “Fine! If that’s how you are going to act, then I am leaving you!” Maybe you would never verbally say this, but in your spirit you are saying, “I am never going to open my heart to you again,” or “I am not going to talk to you until you apologize to me!” This is a prideful attitude that affects each of us.
Is there any wonder that the same attitude has infiltrated the church and has affected our relationship with God? How many of us actually make our relationship with Jesus Christ the number one priority like it should be? Just as in our marriage relationships, if we don’t PLAN our “date” times with God, they won’t happen. If we don’t make an effort to find quality time to share our heart with Jesus, we will soon become disappointed and frustrated. God DESIRES for us to share our hearts with Him, and He LONGS for us to KNOW Him and to discover what His hopes and dreams are for our lives. If we stay committed to our relationship and don’t “jump ship” when the storms come, we make the transition from life being about “ME” to life being about “US.” Jesus and I! When we make “US” a priority, then many others struggles and issues lose their intensity.
When there have been outside pressures that have made life stressful for Duane and I, we have experienced a sense of security and a safe haven when we’ve been blessed with oneness in our marriage relationship. When I know that I can share my heart with my husband, then it doesn’t matter as much when others misunderstand or hurt me. The same is true in my relationship with Jesus Christ.
We were cleaning out our freezers recently, and I decided to cook a big batch of dried beans that were soon becoming ancient! As I had them simmering on the stove, I was also multitasking and trying to balance our checkbook, which was a bookkeeper’s nightmare! In spite of my strategic attempts of SLOWLY cooking them, they seemed DETERMINED to get my attention and would abruptly begin to boil over. I would rush over and turn them down, because I really don’t enjoy when things boil over onto my stove top! I thought I was being very careful in preventing a “boil over” from happening, but, in reality, I needed to give them a bit more attention.
What is the temperature in your marriage? Are there issues just below the surface that are waiting to “boil” over? Is there evidence that you need to give your relationship with your spouse more focused attention? Maybe you have placed your relationship on the “back burner” and are giving other activities and people more attention than you should. Do you realize that the best thing you can do for your children is taking your primary focus off of them and placing it first on God and then focusing on your marriage? When you make an attempt to regularly share heart to heart with each other, you will be amazed at what this does for your spouse and your children.
More importantly, what is your spiritual temperature? Does your “date” with Jesus take the priority it should? How consistent are you with spending time with Him? When you have this time, is the conversation one-sided? Do you take the time to really listen to His heart? Do you know what He longs to do in your life? Has your “date” become nothing more than sitting, talking BUSINESS, and then eating? If this is the extent of your relationship to your Lord and Savior, then I challenge you with this verse, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chron. 7:14) In Revelations 3:16, Jesus declares, “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)