Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,…let your mind dwell on these things.
According to legend, a Chinese emperor once said to his wife, “I notice that our mulberry trees are being damaged. I’d like you to find out what’s wrong.”
The empress discovered that a small, drab-colored moth was laying eggs on the leaves. The tiny eggs would hatch into little worms that, after a few days, would spin cocoons and damage the leaves.
Wondering if she could destroy the little cocoons, she dropped one of them into a pot of boiling water. To her surprise, the cocoon began to slowly unwind into a silvery thread. Upon further inspection, the thread proved to be a half-mile long!
Thus, through the process of solving a problem, she discovered something beautiful-silk.
To me, this story illustrates the importance of attitude when you deal with differences between you and your mate. Like flies at a summer picnic, differences buzz in the ears of many couples, threatening to rob their relationships of their peaceful, accepting love. As humorist Sam Levenson once said, “Love at first sight is easy to understand; it’s when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle!”
Ironically, these differences may have attracted you to each other in the first place. He was outgoing; she was shy. He was a big spender, which made her feel special because she was a tightwad. He was a hard worker; she was impulsive and fun loving.
At some point after marriage, when you discover that these differences begin to annoy you, it’s time to make a critical choice. Are you going to reject your mate, or accept him or her?
One practical way to demonstrate acceptance is to train your mind to focus on the positive qualities of your mate. As Paul writes in Philippians 4:8 (above), let your mind dwell on what is honorable and lovely in your mate.
These differences are what make you strong as a couple. A friend of mine summarized this principle, “My wife and I had both accepted Christ, but we were shocked to discover that we had never accepted one another.”
That you will develop the ability to accept the gift God gave you in your mate.
Make a list of all your differences and how you complement one another. Then make a list of all the positive qualities in your mate. Write out a love letter that is a statement of your acceptance of your mate.
This particular entry is very very critical to the survival and thriving of any relationship, but particularly marriage!
The practice of unconditional Love, which God and Jesus models for us, becomes paramount to the health and growth of the marriage relationship…
Which is what Paul does write about in the bible passage quoted above.
We, as humans, tend to focus on the ‘what I don’t like/want’ aspect of things– but in Love and Marriage, we have committed to our mate [in the eyes of GOD no less!]- so it is so very important to accept them and leave it up to God to ‘change’ the things we don’t like. Granted, boundaries can be set and should be discussed ahead of time– but the celebration of difference should definitely have a role in the relationship.
Which is what the Raineys direct us to think about in their prayer/discussion sections.
Please open my heart to the gift that you gave to me in my mate– a divine appointment and also a way to achieve grace -all in one. Thank you so very much for the Love that you give to me, through them– and I am so happy that you have provided me so much beauty and care through their actions and person.
You are truly a provider and protector, and I thank you for the wonders your divine will have daily provided through my mate!