Learning to “Put Up” With Each Other

When Paul writes in I Corinthians 13…that “love bears all things…” what did he mean? The Amplified version says: “love bears up under anything and everything that comes…” Anything and EVERYTHING? That sounds very similar to the commitment most of us made before a Pastor, a congregation, our family, and our spouse…”till death do us part.” Unfortunately it seems as though too many couples – Christians included – have forgotten that part.

The latest statistics available from the 2007 Kansas Vital Statistics website for Sedgwick County show a total of 3,558 marriages and 2,595 marriage dissolutions (divorce or annulments). Rounding off the numbers, for every 3.6 marriages here in Sedgwick County, there were also 2.6 marriages that didn’t make it! Whew! Not only is that very grievous, but it is scary! Divorce is a destructive force for all those involved – the spouses, the children, the family and friends, and the culture as a whole.

Without a determination to “bear up under all things” “till death do us part” mentality, we lose the battle! How do we “bear up?” There are many things that enable us to do so. Each month this year I am writing about one of those ingredients. At the core has to be a growing relationship with Jesus Christ! He alone is the miracle worker, the one who gives us strength, the one who brings conviction, revelation, and encouragement.

In this day and age of hyper busyness we MUST take time to feed our spirit! A book I recommended once again just yesterday to help in this area is entitled Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. It is a modern day classic on the spiritual disciplines that when engaged help “set the sail” for when the Spirit blows. We don’t work the disciplines so much to “become spiritual” or win God’s favor; rather we do them to bring us close to the King who can then do His work in us.

In order to win the battle being waged against marriages today, we must recognize who the real enemy is…and in 99% of the cases – it is NOT your spouse! I repeat: IT IS NOT YOUR SPOUSE! The real enemy is satan and the lies he dispels about each other and your marriage. You must be acutely aware that at all times he is “prowling around like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour!” And he is after YOU! I know your spouse does things wrong, and they have areas that need to be changed – but so do you! I have never worked with a couple where all the fault lies with one party. Even when one spouse is wronging the other, God is still at work shaping each one. God seeks to convict and transform the one doing the wrong, but He is also teaching the one being wronged virtues like patience, forgiveness, perseverance, faith, etc. He is always at work in both!

Determine today by His Grace to “bear up” under whatever is assaulting your marriage. Seek His Face for the strength to do so. And speak your commitment once again to your spouse as you once did “from this day forward until death do us part!”

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