A concept that I keep running into is the difference between genuine love (that gives and serves) and conditional love (that demands certain behavior as a requisite for affection and approval).
During the time that God started nudging me about generosity, I saw that I wasn’t loving all of my husband. I loved the parts that were comfortable or that blessed me in some way. My husband tended to hide the “difficult” parts so that he didn’t have to deal with my bad attitudes (being real here). I realized that in a very real way I was guilty of giving “love” that was conditional. I didn’t want to hear about his sexual needs. I was grumpy about his messiness (even when he was being genuinely creative) and there were days when I didn’t want to hear another word about rooks or bishops (check mate, pleeeaase). I was very much judging my husband by my standards of what was “good” and “bad.” I was not opening my eyes to the uniqueness and wonder of who God created him to be. I was in effect telling God that I knew better how my husband should be. Ouch.
I was not truly loving all of him and, in that, I was hurting him, sometimes in the most intimate of ways.
I did some hard thinking and some even harder living after that. I chose to love him as he was and I made a point of loving and giving regardless of what he was doing or how he was acting. I loved all of him… and continue to.
I encourage y’all to do some similar heart searching. Are you trying to govern your husband’s behavior with your own system of rewards and punishments? Can you open yourself a bit wider to love all that he is and value all that God made him to be? I’m not suggesting that you condone sin or that you lie about what you like and don’t like. I’m suggesting that you give your husband room to be himself, all of himself, and be accepting of his differences and quirks.
God does not make clones. Each person is different, a tribute to God’s creativity. If we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, we must accept people as they are and not demand that they conform to our own image. Henry Fehren
Be generous! Lori <><