Love is… Applying 1 Corinthians 13 to Marriage

Continuing Debt?

Love! Can you believe this?!  When my husband and I were dating, you would never see us together without us touching in some way… holding hands, his arm around my shoulders or waist, bumping shoulders… you get the picture; a parental nightmare!  We were in love!

Love – the reason every couple gives for getting married, “We’re in love!”  We define love as a feeling but feelings are so fleeting.  If you can fall into love, then you can fall out of it too.  How many of you have friends or family who are divorcing because they fell out of love?  But, if you read the Bible’s definition of love; it is not a feeling at all but action.  If that is the case then those who fell out of love really fell into complacency, sloth, laziness…  1 Corinthians 13:4-8 provides us with the most comprehensive definition of love.  As you read through this passage, notice the action verbs.

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.

Love is action!   Love is patient and kind.  Those are actions!  Love rejoices in the success of another and builds others up by word and deed.  Love looks for ways to encourage another, forgives and thinks the best of the other….

In Romans 13:8 Paul writes, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.”  Then in verse 10, “Love does no harm to its neighbor…”

Think about your actions today, do they speak love to your husband or harm?  Do your words build him up or tear him down?  Do you look for ways to encourage him – bring him comfort or are you thinking only of yourself and what you can get out of the relationship? 

Application: According to Romans, love is a continuing debt.  We must always be striving to make deposits, not withdrawals.

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Ugh!  Will He Ever Get With It?!

Everyone is familiar with little irritations – those little things your husband does that just drive you up the wall – like, toothpaste or his whiskers in the sink, his dishes left in the living room, the dirty clothes on the floor, or he forgot to take out the trash, again!  You know the list.  But, 1 Corinthians 13:4 says that love is patient.

Patience… how do you practice patience?  First it takes stubborn tenacity to not be just hearers of the Word, but doers of the Word!  To be the one who sticks by the commitments that you make no matter what your husband is doing.  To be active in your faith! 

Patience… Think about it, why are you frustrated by the things your husband does?  Yes, he should know better, but is it really that important?  Is it really something to get hot under the collar about?  Someone has to make an adjustment and why not you?  Isn’t it better than pouting, digging in your heels, nagging or waiting for him to get it right? 

Patience… but he’s not doing his part!  So What! You aren’t his mother – stop trying to teach him new tricks.   

Application: Pray about it – then wash out the sink, pick up the dishes or clothes, take out the trash or remind him of these things with a cheerful heart, “Have a good day dear and don’t forget to take out the trash today, big guy!”   Continually remind yourself of his many good qualities and what a blessing it is to have him walking through life with you. 

Patience… Love is patient…. Put it into action!

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What about Me!

One of the main obstacles to applying God’s Word is self-focus.  We have been taught that if we don’t take care of ourselves, no one else will – to look out for number 1 – to ask, “What am I going to get out of it?  What’s in it for me?”   This carries over into our marriage relationship as well.  So often I hear, “What has he done for me lately?” and “Why am I always the one investing in our marriage, what about him?”  Do these ladies not realize; do they not know, that when they stand before God they will be held accountable for their actions a wife – and they will be without excuse.  That the Bible teaches a focus that contradicts the world’s and places our attention on the service of others.  Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  That is what we are talking about here… renewing our minds, particularly in regards to love.  1 Corinthians 13:4 says love is action.  Love is patient.  Love is kind.

Love is kind. 

Application: How can we put kindness into action?  There are two critical times in your home each day…. when you and your husband say good-bye in the morning and when you return at the end of the day.  Consider, walking your husband to the door (or go to him if you leave first), look him in the eyes, hug him warmly and say, “I love you.  Have a wonderful day.” Kissing is also a nice added touch.   At the end of the day, these first few minutes together can set the tone for the rest of the evening.  Go to him (meet him at the door), with a smile on your face, look him in the eyes, say, “Hi, honey!  I’m so glad you’re home.”  Hug him warmly, again kissing is good.  You could ask him to tell you about his day but, some men need time to decompress from work and will be more willing to talk later.  Regardless of when you ask, stop what you are doing, look him in the eye and, give him your full attention.

Love is kind.  Kindness comes in many forms but why not start and end your workdays with a little kindness.  Practice these greetings whether you feel like it or not.  Act now, feel later!  Remember, LOVE is action!

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Green with Envy!  (even in marriage!)

There were times in my marriage when I was envious of my husband.  When I had two youngsters in diapers, I envied him going off to work – daily visits with coworkers – accomplishing what appeared to be great things when it seemed all I did was rock, feed, and diaper with a monosyllabic vocabulary.  Other times I have envied his knowledge.  (Never play Trivial Pursuit with him.)  Envy… such a negative word and it brings out such negative emotions in us.  Instead of rejoicing in our husband’s gifts or position, we want it for ourselves – yet do we really or do we just not want him to have these great qualities or opportunities either?  But what can we do?  How can we turn this around?

Admiration! 

Application:  True admiration is an intimate thing and gives a man a sense of security.  Yes, ladies, let’s admire our husbands.  He goes to work everyday – tell him how you admire his dedication to his job.  Thank him for providing for you and his children.  Admire his intelligence and memory for details.  Admire his strength when he’s been out in the yard working or carrying something heavy or just when you see his burly arm as he walks by.  Admire his character, his integrity, even how good he looks as he leaves for the day.  The list could go on and it should.  But don’t just think about it – tell him what you admire – watch how he listens!

“Love does not envy” 1 Corinthians 13:4.  Put it into practice.

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 I Told You So

My daughter taught me a very good lesson in humility that I still remember, even years later.  She had just won (by 10 seconds) her cross country PTC race and received her gold medal.  Following the race, the team had a picnic.  I gave her the medal, expecting that she would want it; she took it reluctantly and said she didn’t want to wear it.  I told her that there were people who would want to see it.  She still didn’t want to wear it and told me, “It just seems like bragging.”  She gave the medal to her dad and said that if anyone asked, she would send them our way.  Love does not boast.  She had every right to wear her medal proudly after all; she had worked hard to earn it, but she did not want anyone else to feel badly by showing it off.

Humility, it is giving up the right to brag. It is giving up the right to be right. It is a hard thing – especially in marriage, but humility can defuse a situation almost instantly. For example, you and your husband are arguing and later you were proved right, do you tell him about it? “See, I told you!” How about apologizing when you are wrong? Oh, now, that is true humility. Or even worse, you both were yelling and disrespectful and you apologize for your part, without rehashing the argument or expecting him to apologize also – ouch! Can you be humble then and truly let it go? Remember, God will hold us accountable for how we are as a wife.

Application: We don’t have to correct our husband’s behavior – God will handle him. We have to focus on our actions. 

Humility is the spark that reignites dormant conversation and is a pleasure to be around.  So, what do we have to boast about?  Paul has the answer, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”  1 Corinthians 1:31

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Time To Laugh

Barbara Bush possesses a sense of fun that made her one of our most popular first ladies. She was asked about her famous Faux pearls and gray hair and replied, “There is a myth around that I don’t dress well. I dress very well – I just don’t look good.” Doesn’t that just make you smile? Don’t you love it when someone can laugh and joke about themselves and not take themselves so seriously? It makes me wonder if she knows what King Nebuchadnezzar says in Daniel 4:37, “Those who walk in pride He is able to humble” and that is why she did not take offense.

How many times do we take ourselves too seriously? We make a mistake and we cover it up with attitude. Our husband can innocently or even not so innocently say something… that is not so flattering and we get offended, even if he is right… why can we not just laugh about it? Do we have to be perfect? We know we aren’t, but do we have to try so hard to give the impression of perfection that when someone points out the crack in the veneer, we get hostile?

Application:  Lighten up. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Laugh at your flaws and little imperfections because 1 Corinthians 13:4 says, “Love is not proud.”

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    How Rude!

    I was observing myself when Bryan was talking to me the other day.  We were sitting at the table and while he spoke, I got up and began to clear away the dinner plates, then I put them in the dishwasher.  I put away the leftovers and washed the pots and pans and realized that our conversation had ended.  How did that happen?  I was listening – I am a woman – I can multitask!  Then I thought about how Bryan responds to me when I want to talk.  He may be working on the books and I’ll start a conversation and he will intentionally close the book and put down his pen so that he can listen to what I have to say.  Wow!  What a contrast!  Yes, he is a man and knows his limitations when it comes to multitasking, but maybe I think too highly of mine. Why did our conversation end?  Could it be that I was distracted?  Could it be because he felt like I was uninterested?  Regardless, I realized that my behavior was rude and I need to rethink how I listen.  How about you?  When he’s telling a story, do you finish his sentences then continue with your own conclusion, interrupt or, change the subject.  Do you let the kids interrupt and answer them when your husband is talking?  Do you try to listen to another conversation, the tv or radio or, read the newspaper while he is talking?  Do you go in and out of the room or close your eyes in the middle of the onversation?  Do you interrupt constantly or listen but are distracted…. Oh, it is so easy to be rude to our husbands… They may call us on it but more than likely, they will just get quiet.  Rudeness – the #1 conversation killer!  Let us not be rude to our husbands.  Let us develop good listening habits then put them into practice.  The following list was developed by Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby in their book, How to Get Your Husband to Talk to You state, “There is a direct correlation between a woman’s willingness to listen and a man’s willingness to talk.  Our men are task oriented.  They often don’t speak just to speak.  They will speak when there is a reason and if you are listening.” Pick at least one of these suggestions, apply it, and improve your listening skills.  I may need to work on a few of these myself…

    1. Look him in the eye when he is speaking.  If your eyes are focused anywhere else it will look like your mind is elsewhere.  Stop what you are doing and look at him!
    2. Lean forward as you listen.  This will show him that you are really interested in what he is saying.
    3. Give feedback.  Ask questions.  Respond to what he is saying by your body language, nod, smile, face him, uncross your arms…
    4. Allow him to finish talking. Don’t interrupt or change the subject.    Don’t yawn or check your watch… let him finish with you being attentive.
    5. Compliment his insights and wisdom.
    6. Repeat back some of what he says, it is validating to him.
    7. Show your appreciation when he shares his thoughts.
    8. Focus on what he is saying not what you are going to say next.  This is not the time to check his grammar.  Although it does prove that you are listening to how he says something but, are you listening to what is being said?

    Application:  1 Corinthians 13:4 “Love is not rude.”  Listening when your husband is talking is a good place to start.

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      The Marriage Competition

      He likes to talk.  She lets him carry the conversations.  She likes the spotlight.  He encourages her to sing on talent night and teaches their children to “make over her” whenever they see her.  He likes to spend time at the cottage.  She goes with him, cleans it and provides him with his meals.  She likes to travel.  He gets enough travel with work but willingly goes along with her on trips around the world.  He likes to golf in the summer and bowl in the winter.  She allows him to go.  She likes to dance.  He willingly joins her for dance lessons.  She likes to go out to eat.  He takes her out every Sunday for lunch.  She retires from cooking.  He provides their meals.   She likes to shop.  He takes her shopping.

      “Love is not self-seeking.” 1 Corinthians 13:5

      I have seen this verse played out in many couples I have known throughout the years.  One understands this verse, one does not.  Neither is mean spirited.  Both are kind hearted, good Christians.  I would not characterize either as weak or docile.  But she is extremely self-focused and he is not.  How does this play out in their marriage?  He chooses his battles and for those things that are less important, he goes with the flow.  There is some give and take.  There is a balance to maintain.  It is not equal but they are not looking for equality, they are committed companions who love each other in spite of their flaws.  “Love is not self-seeking.”  This is not an easy verse to live out.  A wise pastor once asked, “Do we really do anything without selfish motivation?”  Think about it, even if we are trying to be altruistic is there not still an inkling of “self” involved?  Is there not the thought somewhere in the back of our minds desiring affirmation for the good we have done?  

      Application:  So, when your partner is being a bit selfish – aspire to lovingly give them what they need.  When you find yourself at odds with your spouse, examine your motivation and ask yourself, “Do I want this for ME or for the good of my marriage?”  Love, it is not self-seeking.

       

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      Who’s Angry?  I’m not Angry!

      How often do we have an attitude of disdain, irritation or anger because our husbands are not living up to the standards we have set.  Maybe they have put on weight that we don’t find appealing, they aren’t showing us or our kids the attention we desire, they left a dirty dish in the family room or a towel on the floor, and they don’t agree that we need that new sofa, or maybe they were a couch potato all night…  There are lots of things we can look for that would make us irritated, then all they have to do is add one more thing to the list and we blow up – all out of proportion because we aren’t focusing on his positives, but on his negatives.  Remember Romans 15:7, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you.”  We aren’t suppose to be making our husbands into our image of the perfect husband… we are to accept our husbands for who they are and let God mold them into the men He wants our husbands to be.

      Don’t you see… when I judge my husband instead of accepting him I am saying, “I deserve better than this.”   I am saying that he should be this way, do it this way, because of course my way of thinking is better than his, my way of doing things is better than his… What pride I have!  What arrogance I display!  Why do I have to be in control of everything all the time?  If I don’t get my way, I get angry… then I get even…  “He didn’t do this so see if I do anything for him…”  Anger and resentment builds up and where does it stop!  Unless I get my pride under control, it won’t stop.  Unless I take a deep look at me and figure out why I have such need for control, it won’t stop.  Unless I confess to God my pride and arrogance in thinking that I can reshape my husband better than He can, it won’t stop.

      Application:  1 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Love is not easily angered.”  Get on your knees ladies, and I am with you… Give up control, confess your sin of pride and be humbled… then accept you husband for who he is right now and show him your acceptance by word or deed this week.  Focus on his positives and do something that reflects it…. maybe you’ll do something his way… you’ll positively respond to his advances… you’ll cuddle up with your couch potato…  Put your acceptance into action.

      On my knees, Kim.

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        What baggage are you holding onto?

        There is a little drama Bryan and I like to show to our pre-marriage class which I will title, “The Score Keepers.”  It starts off with the husband doing something nice for his wife and she thanks him and gives him points in her little notebook that goes everywhere with her.  He has a notebook of his own also and when he finds out what she is making for dinner, he gives her points too.  The conversation continues and he finds out that she took away points for his golf outing that he needed to make up – she gets
        upset because he deleted points for a burnt dessert a week ago.  They continue to banter back and forth; arguing one point then another.  Finally, he’s had enough.  He  admits he’s a failure; he can’t compete.  He states that he doesn’t care if she’s not perfect.  He’s willing to love her even if she overspends, burns supper, gossips about him
        with her friends… She responds – “Sure you want to give up the score book because you’re behind.”

        Ladies, how many of our husbands are behind?  If we kept score, we’d find that we serve them more, are more thoughtful, remember important dates better, take time out for him…  We are generally more relational and speak that language readily.  If we kept score, we would  not be satisfied with what our husbands do because we’d be focusing on what they didn’t do or what they did wrong.  Then we would not be such a pleasure to be with… remember Proverbs 19:13, “A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping.” How annoying!

        Application:  Put away the scoreboard – forgive, let go of the baggage, accept and love your husband and allow him the freedom to become the man God intended him to be rather than expending all his energy trying to stay out of trouble with his wife!  1 Corinthians 13:5 “Love keeps no records of wrongs.”  That is good advice.

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        Knock Him Down a Peg!

        Has your husband ever corrected you? It could be something as simple as you mispronounced a word or made an error in the checkbook and he calls you on it. Not a big deal right? – Unless… as Gary Chapman would say, “Your love tank is on empty.” That one criticism then can push you over the edge and you are irritated. I am sorry to confess, when I am in this place, I find myself looking for some way to even the score. I don’t have to do it – in fact, it is better if it comes from an outside source, then I get some satisfaction that they knocked him down a peg for me. I know, it’s not very nice and it is certainly not something I like to admit, but you understand,  right? There is something about retribution that is so appealing…but, then I read 1 Corinthians 13:6 and it gives me pause; something to think about.  “Love does not rejoice in evil…” That means that love does not delight in doing wrong nor does it take pleasure in the hearing of misfortune. Wow, there is a conflict here in what I feel/do/desire and God’s Word which means, I NEED TO CHANGE!

        Application:  So, how do I resolve this problem within me? First it is good that I have identified the problem as my own – not my husband’s. 2 Corinthians 13:5 tells us to “examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith.” I need to ask myself some pertinent questions. What is going on in me that puts me in this place? Have I been running on empty? Have I spent time with God; reading/studying His Word or in prayer? If not, I need to make  the time! How about sleep? Have I cut it short to get my “to do” list one? Don’t! Sleep science states that if we get eight hours, our days are more productive than when we neglect our sleep. Schedule in time to rest! Now, what if my “love  tank” is empty? Then I need to be proactive and set aside time ‘for me’, plan a get-away, or let my husband know that I require his special attention. Face the facts, our  husbands do not always know when PMS has hit or when we have had a spell of rough days with little support from him. He would appreciate the insight. If Bryan has hurt my feelings, he wants to know and desires to make amends. Gently filling him in with a few well-chosen words is much more in alignment with what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians. “Love does not rejoice in evil.”  Where do you stand in regards to the fulfillment of this verse?

         

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        It Just Comes Naturally

        Have you ever said these words? “I know he’s doing it on purpose just to irritate me.” I was talking with a friend and it seemed like all she could do was complain about her husband. It appeared as though she was dissatisfied about everything he did – it was not done just as she wanted, or within the time frame she expected. She was unhappy because he didn’t listen and when he spoke to her, what he said was stupid. She even complained about his appearance. It made me tired just listening to her and I was with her for only a short time. How do you think he must feel? As I listened I wondered how much truth was in what she was saying. Did he really go out of his way to irritate her or was it just a normal occurrence, as Gary Smalley says, “Men don’t lie awake at night thinking of ways to stress out the marriage, it just comes naturally.”

        “Truth”. Many times our impression of what is true is so distorted. We are looking through the lens of our minds eye which is influenced and shaped by our own hurts, history, and experiences. We place our own perceptions on others and believe they think and act as we do. But, are our perceptions true? Are our expectations realistic or a fairy tale? What is this lady’s husband really like? What do his friends think of him? What attributes would they use to describe him? What do the neighbors say? When he’s at work, is he dependable and a hard worker – is he fun to be around – does he get the job done?

        Application:  Take time to look at your husband through other’s eyes. See him from another perspective and reevaluate your “truth”. You will most likely find reasons to rejoice because, “Love rejoices in the truth.” And, if you find yourself discussing your husband’s faults with friends, at the bus stop, with co-workers… stop! Discussing a situation with a friend to gain understanding or guidance is fine but gossiping about him is not. When you feel the urge to tear down your man, focus on “The Whatevers” in Philippians 4:8. Focus on what is true, noble and admirable in your husband; anything that is excellent or praiseworthy, these are what we are to think about, and then truth will prevail.

         

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        Three Little Words

        “Love,” as we have been saying, is an action verb that is being defined for us in 1 Corinthians 13.  “Always,” not sometimes, not when I feel like it, but continually, it’s a constant… “Protects,” sounds heroic, a manly virtue in many respects; the chivalrous warrior protecting his loved ones and home, or parental; catching a child
        before they step into harms way… so how do we apply this to our marriage?

        Before I wish to protect something, it has to first be established as a treasure.   We don’t protect just anything.  It has to be important!  Therefore, first I must
        establish in my mind that my marriage is worth fighting for.  It has value and is important to me, to God, to my children.  (Did you know that children feel the most secure when they know that their parents love each other and their marriage is a priority?)  Yes, my marriage definitely has value, therefore it is worth protecting.

        So, how do I protect my marriage?  I know a woman who travels for business – usually with men.  She makes every effort not to go to dinner with just one other co-worker but to meet as a group.  She redirects conversation to less personal/general topics.  She speaks positively about her husband even if they just had a fight the night before and calls home every night.  Her best advice – don’t flirt with anyone other than your husband!  Flirting invites intimacy which should be reserved for your husband.  This may sound strict but she values her marriage and takes measures to protect it.

        Application:  What are other ways to protect your marriage?  Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby in their book, How to Get Your Husband to Talk to You, have a few more suggestions.  Try calling your husband by an endearing name.  This is tough for me but I have been able to make the switch from Bryan to Bry and sometimes “dear” or “handsome”.  These pet names show him that he has a special place in your heart – reserved only for him.  Another suggestion is to tell your kids things you admire about their dad and when you are tempted to be critical of him, consciously choose to focus on his strengths instead.  Avoid put downs and sarcasm and think of yourself as his friend, lover, and soul mate.  And lastly, make your marriage a priority.  Have regular date nights, go away for a weekend – just the two of you, and go to marriage retreats, read marriage books together… the list could go on and on but you get the idea.  Invest in your marriage and it will flourish which will protect it from any outside source.  “Love always protects.” 1 Corinthians 13:7.   Think about it. How will you protect your marriage today?

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        Who Can Be Trusted?

        Keeping a Confidence.  Sometimes it is such a difficult task.  That problem arose for me recently.  A short time ago, my husband shared a situation with me – which he was working through and needed someone to listen to his reasoning.  We had a short discussion about it at which
        time he shared some confidential information.  This information was not slanderous, in fact it could be considered a joy, yet it was confidential.

        Later, I am sitting in a group setting and we are talking about a similar topic as was previously unmentioned.  Do I share the joy?  Of course not!  Yet the temptation is so great and I could have easily rationalized the telling of it – and what an insider scoop it would have been, but that would have betrayed the confidence.  1 Corinthians 13:7 says, “love always trusts.”  How trustworthy are you?  Can your husband count on you in the large and small events of life?  Can he trust you?

        • Do you keep personal things he shares with you to yourself?
        • Do you refrain from talking about his faults to your parents, children, or friends?
        • Can he entrust his reputation to you?
        • Is his name safe in your mouth?
        • Does your husband say, “You are never on my side”?
        • Do you subvert his parental authority – drawing the children to yourself, dismissing what their dad says?
        • Do you confess his sins to others?
        • Do you bring up past mistakes?

        Psalm 33:11 “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.”  God’s plans don’t change.  What He wrote in the Bible was for that time, for now and the times to come.  He is trustworthy.  What He said about Jesus in the Old Testament -happened.  What He has said about the future – will happen.  We can trust that it is true.  We know that God is trustworthy.

        Application:  What about you?   Are you trustworthy?  Being trustworthy in small, everyday things prepares you for the times when the going gets tough.  Pick an area this week and focus on improving your trustworthiness.

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        Me – A Cheerleader?!

        Love Always Hopes… Always, not often, not once in a while, not just sometimes, love always hopes…. Hope: to desire with the expectation of or belief in fulfillment. What does your husband hope for? Have you ever asked him? How do you help your husband attain what he desires; what he dreams about; what he hopes for? You encourage him!

        One man said, “When my wife encourages me, I feel like there’s nothing I can’t do! There’s no mountain I can’t climb or problem I can’t solve. I’m the man! I’m her man! Nothing reenergizes a man like a little encouragement from his wife.”

        Wow! Don’t you just feel the energy coming from this man? And all it took was encouragement from his wife. How often do you say, “You can do it! I believe in you! You’re the best!”? How often do you acknowledge his efforts or look for opportunities to compliment him? Be his cheerleader. He needs to know that your faith in him remains as strong as ever, even in times of struggle. One characteristic of a cheerleader is that they never give up, even when their team is 10 points behind, they are still saying, “You can do it, you can do it, if you put your mind to it!”

        Application: Seek out ways to encourage your husband. Ask him what he hopes for and cheer him on!

         

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        Who Wins?

        Many of you may have already read this little story over e-mail. Read it again and refresh your memory. I’ll have a note at the end for application…

        Shay, a physically and mentally handicapped boy and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, “Do you think they’ll let me play?” Shay’s father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps. Shay’s father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play, not expecting much. The boy looked around for guidance and said, “We’re losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.”

        Shay struggled over to the team’s bench put on a team shirt with a broad smile and his Father had a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father’s joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and
        played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was
        scheduled to be next at bat.

        At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible ’cause Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing the other team putting winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. The game would now be over, but the pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the head of the first baseman, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, “Shay, run to first! Run to first!”

        Never in his life had Shay ever ran that far but made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled, “Run to second, run to second!”
        Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to second base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball, the smallest guy on their team, who had a chance to be the hero for his team for the first time. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions and he too intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman’s head. Shay ran toward second base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

        All were screaming, “Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay”

        Shay reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to help him and turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, “Run to third! Shay, run to third” As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams and those watching were on their feet screaming, “Shay, run home! Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the “grand slam” and won the game for his team.

        That day, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world. Shay didn’t make it to another summer and died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making his Father so happy and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

        This story struck a cord with me – having grown up with a handicapped brother, but it applies to our marriages as well… We are all handicapped in one way or another. Most of our handicaps don’t show, they are emotionally related or our inability to do something due to the lack of training or understanding or maybe we feel bound to an activity or action which we have trouble controlling. So what is your handicap, or maybe more importantly, what are your husband’s handicaps? When your husband has trouble doing something that came so easily for your father, how do you handle his handicap? Do you point it out to him? Make him feel inferior? Or do you accept him for whom God made him to be, cheer him on, and help him along the way even if it is inconvenient or interferes with your own goals. 1 Corinthians 13:7 says, “Love always perseveres.” Persevere in doing good…

        Application:  Don’t give up – persevere!

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