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If, Then

Marriage isn’t meant to be 50/50. Marriage is intended to be 100/100. Ideally, there should be no limit to how much one spouse serves another spouse, regardless of how greatly it is appreciated or how often it is reciprocated.

As a partner in a marriage, have you ever uttered the conditional phrase, “If….then”? Do these statements sound familiar?

“If she would only take better care of herself, then maybe I’d compliment her more.”
“If he would just get home from work when he says he will be home, then maybe I’ll be more in the mood.”
“If he would just help out more with the house and the kids, then maybe I wouldn’t nag so much.”
“If she would only learn to cook better meals, then maybe I wouldn’t sneak and eat out as often.”
“If he wouldn’t do so many stupid things, then maybe I’d respect him more.”

This mentality is poisonous. It feeds ourselves and excludes our mates. It puts full responsibility on our spouse and lets us off the hook. Or so we think.

In reality, this mindset breeds contempt, resentment and greed. It does nothing to build up a marriage; it only seeks to tear it down.

Paul tells us in Philippians 2:3 not to “do anything out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Ephesians 5:25 reads, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Galatians 5:13 reminds us of this: “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.”

These verses and instructions from God don’t line up to the “if, then” mentality. Is it time to stop seeking to gain and start seeking to serve? To stop withholding the other 50 percent and give your mate your very best? “If not now, then when?”

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