Monday, July 8, 2013

Learn. Act. Share.

So, when I was struggling with marriage stuff, I read a lot; books on relationships, books on marriage, books on how to deal with stuff. At some point, my counsellor said that I knew a lot, in fact, I knew all I needed to find my answers, come to terms with - and get on with - my life. She told me I had probably read more relationship books than some counsellors, and I really needed to do something with that knowledge. I knew she was was right, and yet I kept looking for books I hadn’t read, angles I hadn’t looked at my situation from. I kept searching instead of doing anything. I had grown comfortable in my discomfort. I was not happy but at least my life was a known quantity. To DO something would mean things might change; hopefully for the better, but as in most things there were no guarantees. That was scary. What if things got worse? (Yes, this showed a clear lack of faith on my part, but that’s another article) I eventually started talking to my wife about what was bothering me, and we worked through it. That’s not what this article is about though.

My point here is twofold. It is not to avoid learning, to stop seeking after knowledge. Research is important, but then we must act. The wisdom we gain, the lessons we learn on our journey must be put to good use. To remain miserable even after we have acquired the tools to fix our situation would be the height of folly. Change is rarely easy, and often there is work to do (some serious) to enact positive change, to get us back on the path God has set before us; but it is up to us to do that work, to take those steps. As it says in James 2:20 about faith:

...wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

so too it is with knowledge, wisdom and experience: without the work to implement it, it does us no good. So, if you and your spouse do a devotional together, great. If you do a couples’ study together, awesome! Read a book as a couple, like  Gary Chapman’s “Love Languages”? Excellent! But... make sure you work together to DO the things you learn, to change your marriage for the better, to grow as a couple in love.

So we do, we heal, we change, we grow... then what?

I think we get very attached to the notion that our trials and tribulations, our pain and suffering - and even our successes and victories - are for and about us. This is not at all the case. There’s a saying in Latin: “Scire tuum nihil est, nisi te scire hoc sciat alter.” It means “Your knowledge is nothing when no one knows you know it.”

It of course starts with us, but that is not where it should end. God blesses us so that we can bless others. In his Song of Solomon video series, Rev. Tommy Nelson beseeches couples that have weathered the storms of life to find younger couples and mentor them on how to keep love alive, how to stay Christ-centered in their relationship, and how to succeed despite all the forces that seek to erode and destroy a marriage.

Once I had stabilized myself, my counsellor asked “Now what?” What else could I do with the knowledge and experience I had gathered? I started writing, and you are reading the result of that, some three years later! I thank God He is still giving me things to say.