Happy Friday to you. When I am counseling a married couple, I will ask what they expect from the marriage or what do they need from their spouse to make the marriage better. Each will gladly begin to tell me what the other person is doing wrong and how, if that person could just change a few things about themselves, the marriage would be wonderful. But then I ask the question: “How do you respond when they don’t do what you think they should?” They are usually not as quick to answer this question.
In my Fighting to Win Marriage Workbook, I explain how most people think marriage should be a 50-50 relationship, where each takes responsibility for their part of the relationship. I disagree. In my opinion, a 50-50 relationship will never be all it can be and would struggle to remain a happy marriage. So then what? Should it be a 100-100 relationship where each person is taking full responsibility for the marriage. Even then I don’t think this is the best because both of these are based on reciprocity.
If you enter into a 50-50 relationship, what happens when your spouse is only giving 25% in your mind? If you enter into a 100-100 relationship, what happens when you feel your spouse is only giving 50% effort? Reciprocity allows one spouse to justify giving less to the relationship when they feel their spouse is already giving less. Reciprocity kills relationships.
Relationships that win are 100-0. This is the mindset that even when you are not loving me at all, I am going to keep loving you. I know that many people will read this and immediately think that this type of relationship leaves one spouse vulnerable to being walked all over and taken advantage of. And they are right, it does leave them vulnerable to this. However, Biblical principle would say that if someone is taking advantage of your 100-0 way of loving, then you are casting your pearls before swine and God would allow for you to leave. He would not allow for you to find another mate, but He would allow for you to leave as a means of waking up your spouse to how they are treating you. Then that spouse would either shape up and start loving better or they will have an affair or ask for a divorce.
But, in a regular marriage, we all lose it sometimes and we don’t love well. We lose our temper. We are inconsiderate, selfish, but in our heart of hearts, we truly love the other person. But if as soon as one spouse is not loving well, the other spouse justifies their anger, silent treatment, withholding sex, yelling and screaming, or whatever, then everything escalates and gets worse. That is a 100-100 or 50-50 relationship.
But if one spouse can keep loving (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) with patience, kindness, not being easily angered, not bringing up the past to prove a point, not being jealous, having gentle answers, not harsh, it has a dramatic affect on their spouse. It sends the message, “I love you even at your worst.” That is powerful. It has the potential of melting the heart of one spouse for the other. It has to be consistent, but consistent love like this can change a person’s heart and cause them to want to be around you all the time.
For anyone who might think this kind of love doesn’t work, I would remind you this is the kind of love God gives us. While we were still out rebelling against Him seeking out our own selfish ambition, He was still blessing us. He did not strike us with lightning when we walked into church with our life full of sin. He did not disown us when we rejected Him. He loved 100-0 and when we realized it, our hearts melted for Him. This kind of love, agape love, has saved the souls of so many and it can save your marriage too.
Leave me a comment. What are your thoughts? How well are you loving 100-0?
Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!
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