Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Transaction vs. Transformation

For many, all the relationships they maintain in their life are transactional. That is, they put time and energy into the relationship to get something from it in return. When one enters into marriage with this mindset, problems ensue. Many enter into marriage this way because of how they approached dating. Even before the advent of online dating, where one gets to create a digital profile, dating could be described as the attempt to “get” a husband or wife. To that end one presents the most attractive parts of his- or herself, and possibly even modifies their behavior to be more attractive. Like fishing, one tries to offer an enticing bait to trigger a bite. This can lead to disillusionment when, after the wedding day, a person no longer exhibits those same behaviors or traits. It could also lead to compromising one’s values or losing one’s self if they try and maintain the facade, constantly feeling the need to “sell themselves” or keep their spouse “hooked” - or simply to get their own wants and needs met in return. This is the world’s standard.

In Romans 12:2 though we are commanded:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

We are called to transform, not conform. Marriage done right is transformational. The vows we take to love, honor and cherish the other person for as long as life shall last require us to go outside our comfort zones, beyond our skill sets in an ongoing effort to love and serve our spouses, and in the process become more like God than we would have ever become on our own. We are created in his image after all, but it takes work on our part to fulfill the awesome potential that fact entails.

Take a serious look at how you are behaving towards your spouse.
Are you regularly asking (nagging, begging) for them to do things? Is your relationship marked by bargaining or negotiating? I’ll do this if you do that? Do you do things expecting them to do other  things in return? Or say they “owe” you since they did something that hurt you? 1 Corinthians 13:5 says that love “does not seek its own way” and “does not keep a record of being wronged.”

A transformational marriage mindset is this: that you do things to bless and serve your spouse, expecting nothing back - just because you vowed to love, honor and cherish. With a transformational mindset you seek to become the partner that your spouse needs you to be. In the movie Fireproof, when Kirk Cameron’s character begins performing the daily love dares, he is initially upset that his wife is not reacting how he thinks she should. He is hurt that he is putting in the effort and being spurned, and even scorned. “Why bother?” he asks himself. It is when he starts acting without expectation - other than that he will become a better person - that the wife notices. She sees the change in him that is behind his actions, and the marriage is renewed, saved from the brink.

Seek to transform yourself, by the renewing of your mind. Seek God’s will for yourself and your marriage. Seek to be the person he created you to be. And watch as your relationships are transformed and renewed as well.

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