Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Crock-Pot Marriage

It's been almost a year now since I entered the work force full time after having been a stay-at-home mom for more than a decade.  It has been a challenge to continue taking care of my husband and four kids the way I want to, stay involved in the life of my church family, and put in 40+ hours a week as a bank teller.  It has been exhausting and thrilling and full of life lessons.

One thing I have learned is to let go of some things.

Things like the housecleaning.  My kiddos have all learned to do chores.  I've learned to let their best effort be good enough, even though the work may not be done the way I would have done it.

Things like meal planning and prep.  When I stayed at home with my babies, I loved to cook and almost always had a balanced, home-cooked meal on the table by 5:00 in the evening.  Now I have become quite proficient at throwing something in the crock-pot on my lunch hour in the hopes that it will be edible at some point before bedtime.

I love my crock-pot recipes.  They're quick to assemble and then I can just walk away and let the appliance do all the work.

I was thinking today how nice it would be if relationships worked the same way.  Especially marriages.  Wouldn't it be nice if we could just find a mate with the right "ingredients" and then just let the marriage simmer for a few decades?

Alas, it is not to be.  No, marriages take a more hands-on approach for sure.  And although there are hundreds of articles out there that tell you otherwise, there really isn't even a fail-proof recipe, no step-by-step instructions to follow that will guarantee the success of your marriage relationship.

Which is ironic, considering the title of one of my previous posts, The Recipe For Love.

I do believe, however, that the Bible gives us the basic ingredients.

Mark 12:30 tells us to love the Lord with our heart, soul, mind and strength.  I believe this tells us that were were created to love in four very distinct and significant ways:
We love with our hearts...emotionally.
We love with our souls...spiritually.
We love with our minds...cognitively or intellectually.
We love with our strength...physically.

These four "ingredients" - emotional love, spiritual love, intellectual love, and physical love - are the basis for lasting and fulfilling marriage.  But they aren't simple ingredients that we can just toss into the relationship and then walk away.  We have to tend to them, sometimes stirring them gently and other times kneading them with a firm hand.  It takes work to make these ingredients come together into something delicious and satisfying.

In the coming weeks I will address each ingredient individually.  I will talk about what it means to love your spouse emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and physically.  I will give some practical suggestions.  I will open the Word and show you how God loves His own bride, the church, in each of these ways.  And I hope you will be encouraged to love your spouse a little more deeply, and little more fully.

Let's save the crock-pots for dinner and learn to be a gourmet chef when it comes to our marriages.

Link: Love...With All Your Heart


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