“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” – Matthew 7:24-27.
When two people get married, they have high expectations about their relationship. The expectation is the other person will “meet me halfway” and that “you do your part, and I’ll do mine.” This concept sounds logical, but does not work. In my experience, the half and half plan does not work. Why?
Because it is difficult to determine if your spouse is doing their half. Because neither of you can agree on what their half is, so each spouse is left to subjectively determine whether you are getting the better or the worse end of the deal. Couple that with the fact that many times in a marriage, both partners are busy, overworked, and feel taken for granted. The real issue isn’t who did more or less that day. It is not a test of who contributes more or who has more responsibility. The important dilemma is, how do you build oneness and teamwork instead of keeping score and waiting for the other person to meet your expectations while they are waiting for you to meet theirs. It can quickly become a Catch 22 which is defined as a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.
The solution to the marriage Catch 22 can be found in Philippians 2:3: “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Basically that is the 100 percent plan which means you are willing to give 100 percent. Or in other words, I will do what I can to love you without demanding an equal amount in return. The Bible describes this plan well in Matthew 22:39: “…‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no closer neighbor than your spouse.
Now the enemy will try to get you back to the half and half plan. You will hear a voice that says, “should I be doing this housework while he is out fishing?” Or “why shouldn’t I buy myself some new golf clubs, since she keeps buying shoes and already owns a thousand or so pairs.” You will never have all of your expectations met in marriage on this fallen planet. Marriage is the union of two imperfect people who can and will have demands that will lead to disappointment and hurt. This is where we need God’s model of unconditional and unlearned love.
- What are the problems with a quid pro quo marriage?
- What are the obstacles to giving 100 percent to our spouse without expecting anything in return?