Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Explicit Lyrics Week 4

Note: You may be wondering what happened to week 3. Adam and I were on vacation in Aruba so I will have to listen to the message and post a response later.

Broken Records: When Love Breaks Your Heart
Song of Songs 5:2-6:13

Jeff started out talking about seven major areas of conflict in marriage: communication, finances, sex, raising children, work, in-laws, and major illnesses. Adam and I agreed that three of the last four were not relevant at present to our marriage.

We learned that the number one cause of relational conflict is selfishness and the number one trait for diffusing conflict is humility.

I was already quite aware of selfishness' role in relational conflict. I have been struggling lately with selflessness. I hate admitting that I'm selfish and yet no one would be surprised to hear me say it. The fact is, we all naturally care most about ourselves and our wants and we have to work hard to change our mindset to consider others. It has been a prayer request of mine for quite some time. I can see how my selfishness keeps me from being more loving and considerate of others, especially my spouse. I hate that that's the case but I suppose acknowledgement is the first part of change.

Anywho, in the section of Scripture, we see Beloved choosing her own desires over showing love to Solomon. We also see her seeking to remedy her mistake by searching for Solomon so that she can apologize. And we also see that Solomon does not react negatively to her rejection, but continues to demonstrate his love in spite of his hurt.

That's certainly an example we all can learn from. I know my natural response when hurt is to figure out how the other person can feel as I feel. Now, I generally try to let this thought pass in order to be able to share feelings in a non-hurt, non-aggressive way. However, it goes against every inclination to be loving toward whoever has hurt me. I know that that is what Jesus did, and I want to be like him, but this attitude requires a lot of work and effort.

Jeff said there was research (did not hear source) that found that couples who pray and read their Bible every day (not necessarily together) have a likelihood of divorce of 1 in 1150 couples. Those couples that go to church but do not have these two disciplines have a likelihood of 6 in 10 just like the national average.

He also said that the first nine years of marriage are the toughest. Adam pointed out that we're a third of the way through...

We were told that the bridge from selfishness to humility is service and communication.

We were asked to ponder the following questions in relation to our marriage: Am I giving or demanding in my relationship? Offering or withdrawing? Depositing or taking away? Generous or stingy with affection? Open-handed or close-handed? Easy or hard to get along with?

We are also supposed to sit down and communicate openly and honestly with our spouse about our marriage.

Our final thought was: Fake it until you make it. Act loving until you feel loving.

My personal question from this was how do you distinguish selfishness from legitimate need? There are things that you want your spouse to do for you. Are these things desired from selfishness or are they reasonable requests, things it is okay to ask for? The hard thing for me is to express what I want because there's always the fear of rejection if nothing results. It's one thing to have a need that isn't met because it isn't known. When a need is expressed and then not met, what are you to think? Does the other person not care enough to act? Do they not realize its importance to you? Are they just not able to do it? There are so many unknowns that it's a little scary to be transparent. But I guess that's a risk that one must be willing to take. A need unexpressed will almost always go unfulfilled. One expressed has at least a 50% chance of being met. Those odds are quite a bit better.

So what's my application? Continue to pray and seek to lay aside my selfishness in my relationships. To continue to express love despite what I am receiving (to not let my emotions decide my actions, but truth and what is right).

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