I’m not sure when it actually begins, but I am extremely confident that in every marriage, there comes a time when a considerable gap emerges between what we expect our spouses to do, and how he or she actually behaves.

Whether it pertains to promises made about the division of household chores, special date nights without the children, or perhaps just a commitment of not checking the work email when at home, time has a way of widening the gap between our expectations of how we want our marriage to be like, and how we actually behave within our marriages.

{For more about what I have to say about EXPECTATIONS in marriage, click here}

What I’ve found interesting is that within each one of these gaps, we have a tendency to fill them up with one of the following two decisions:

(1) We either choose to BELIEVE THE BEST.

or (2) We choose to ASSUME THE WORST.

When it comes to financial mismanagement, there are times when we BELIEVE THE BEST, and attribute a particular purchase by our spouse as a simple mistake. Or we can ASSUME THE WORST, and attribute that mistake to a pattern of selfishness.

When it comes to a spouse who often returns home late from work, there are times when we BELIEVE THE BEST, and attribute these occurrences to an apparent drive to excel and succeed. Or we can ASSUME THE WORST, and attribute these late night arrivals to be a pattern of disrespect, or perhaps promiscuity.

In cases like these, how and what we decide to fill in these gaps with in our marriage are deeply rooted in the following two things:

what we SEE and who we WERE.

While we tend to clearly SEE and identify the inconsistencies in our spouse’s behavior, what often goes unnoticed are the patterns of behavior we have long been afraid of or hurt by years BEFORE we ever decided to get married.

As children, many of us were exposed to a number of things we swore we would never put up with once we got older; especially as it relates to our marriages. More often than not, the single greatest source of influence on how we frame our mindsets as to what our marriage should or should not be like, is derived from something we’ve seen our parents go through.

Women who grew up watching their mother constantly being taken advantage of by her husband, often find refuge in ASSUMING THE WORST when their spouse does something that mirrors a behavior they’ve seen in the past.

Men are no different.

For those who grew up with a mother who attending every one of their little league games, had dinner ready for them as soon as they came home from school, or perhaps always made sure that spot on the back of their neck was cleaned off, it is no wonder why some men have a tendency to ASSUME THE WORST when their wives desire to pursue their own personal goals, instead of spending each one of their days as a nurturer for their husbands.

I’m sure we all have examples that could point to who we WERE before getting married, and what we choose to SEE now as it relates to our spouse’s behavior towards us; examples that make it extremely difficult to BELIEVE THE BEST when challenges arise in our marriage.

Especially when there is unresolved pain.

While we as believers have done a great job in reducing this word to a simple cliché, I am thoroughly convinced that LOVE can indeed conquer all. Simply because true love is not based on how we feel, but rather in how we BELIEVE.

In 1 Corinthians 13, we find these all-too familiar words:

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself and is not puffed up. It does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, nor provoked, and it thinks no evil. Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.

For the most part, very few of us would argue with the above description of love. Seems simple enough. But it is here where this passage really strikes a cord…

Love BEARS all things, BELIEVES all things, HOPES all things,

and ENDURES all things.

What an incredible mandate!!

God commends us as believers that we are to BELIEVE all things, not ASSUME all things. Despite what we THINK may be going on in our spouse’s head, or during his or her free time away from the house, we are to HOPE all things.

And in the roughest of times, just when we are ready to finally draw up those ‘papers’ we’ve had hidden in the bottom of our dresser drawer, God commends us to BEAR and ENDURE all things. It is that kind of love, and only that kind of love, that will (as the writer of this passage indicates) NEVER FAIL.

Today, I challenge you to examine what you may be filling up the gaps in your marriage with. I challenge you to do what most married folk won’t do…

…BELIEVE.

(For more ramblings and writings by Milan Ford, visit ThePewView.com)

Source: elev8.com

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