We only regard those unions as real examples of love and real marriages in which a fixed and unalterable decision has been taken. If men or women contemplate an escape, they do not collect all their powers for the task. In none of the serious and important tasks of life do we arrange such a ‘getaway.’ We cannot love and be limited.

-Alfred Adler


We fail to live up to our own standards when it comes to love—but when it comes to our spouses we expect them to love us not an inch less than God does.  And when they crack and reveal their imperfections (which is bound to happen if we are married for any length of time)—we are faced with a choice—to love or not to love.  When we love one another based on what we get or don’t get out of the deal, it isn’t long before any marriage is in dire straits—whether it ends in divorce court or not.  Many marriages die a silent death although there is no official funeral, while others get buried that are still very much alive.

I think it is fair to say that it is a fear of getting burned that motivates a good many of us to do some of the crazy things in our marriages we end up doing that ultimately serve to ruin them.  Even those of us who have been unfaithful can tell you that we didn’t set out to become cheaters—what happened is that we failed miserably to love somewhere along the line and sinned horrifically in the process.  And when you think about it—cheating in any form or fashion is more about re-acting—it isn’t responding. 

When we respond to one another rather than re-act—we move in love rather than act out of spite.

Re-acting is the sort reasoning we go through in our minds where we think he did this or he didn’t do that so I’m not gonna do such and such and so forth.  Imagine your relationship with your parents (if you were so fortunate to be raised by them)—and what would it have looked like if they handled you that way?  You would have never been fed beyond the age of two.  All of the marriage counselors in the world can’t do for a marriage what not returning the favorso to speak can do.  When we do things to hurt one another—intentional or not—all it serves to do is undermine and weaken the relationship.  And some times looks can be deceiving—the intentional can look so innocent and the unintentional can appear so cold and heartless.   

 Better to live in a tent in the wild  than with a cross and petulant spouse.

(Proverbs 21:19, The Message Bible)                      

If you’d like a marriage that not only stands the test of time but one that is worth cherishing—take it from someone who knows what he’s talking about—don’t return the favor when you are taken for granted or played as the fool.