Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.
               
-Mark Twain
 
            
Many of us abandon our spouses—maybe not physically—but emotionally and mentally for certain.  And some of us have done so without even noticing it.  By the time we we woke up and smelled the coffee, the damage had been done and our marriage was on the rocks—or worse yet—in the courts.  It’s not that the warning signals were missing, we just didn’t bother to pay attention to them—we more or less ignored them.  For many of us—our jobs, our recreation, our stocks, our yards, our sex, our you name it–became our idols in a sense–and it was our relationships with God and others that suffered for it. 
            
And as admirable as it may seem—even our mates, our kids—our families—can become idols.
                     
 For the rest of you who are in mixed marriages—Christian married to non-Christian—we have no explicit command from the Master. So this is what you must do. If you are a man with a wife who is not a believer but who still wants to live with you, hold on to her. If you are a woman with a husband who is not a believer but he wants to live with you, hold on to him. The unbelieving husband shares to an extent in the holiness of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is likewise touched by the holiness of her husband. Otherwise, your children would be left out; as it is, they also are included in the spiritual purposes of God. 
           
On the other hand, if the unbelieving spouse walks out, you’ve got to let him or her go. You don’t have to hold on desperately. God has called us to make the best of it, as peacefully as we can. You never know, wife: The way you handle this might bring your husband not only back to you but to God. You never know, husband: The way you handle this might bring your wife not only back to you but to God.
          
And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life. Don’t think I’m being harder on you than on the others. I give this same counsel in all the churches.    (1 Corinthians 7:12-17, The Message Bible)
         
The moment we elevate someone else above God we do them and ourselves a greater dis-service than we realize.  I am convinced that it is because of this type of worship  of one another—that we begin to operate out of fear.  We desire to control and manipulate one another because we can’t stand the thought of losing what we feel like we just can’t lose.  And in the end—when we try to control—we lose what or who we can’t control.  I have wondered who the genius was (there is conflicting information about who is responsible) who coined the phrase—If you love someone set them free?  Musical talent Sting has made a living singing those words—Jesus modeled the principle as a way of life. 
 
Maybe our marriages—and all of our relationships for that matter—would be stronger if we’d cut one another a bit more slack and laid off of giving one another such a hard time.        
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