Sunday, March 2, 2008


Today's Daily Soap {Scripture | Observation | Application | Prayer}
Today's SOAP
inspired by the
Men's Devotional Bible
  • S: Song of Solomon 2:3-13; Psalm 85:10-13; Proverbs 3:1-6
  • O: Love, faithfulness, and communication are interdependent characteristics of a lasting relationship.
  • A: My wife and I sometimes run into a communication barrier. When she's busy, I want to talk. When she wants to talk, I'm busy. This morning as I sat down to read through this daily devotional, she started talking to me. I got frustrated. I was trying to spend some time with God, and my wife was interrupting us. When I complained, she was frustrated that I was sitting in the breakfast nook, where everyone could see me and be tempted to interrupt me. I explained that the kids weren't interrupting me, it was just her. I tried to remind her of my commitment to conduct my own personal devotional time every morning, and how easy it is to fall back on a commitment when you don't force yourself to build a habit of it (I have, after all, missed the past two days here and felt that getting through the process today was critical). In frustration, I closed up my laptop and stormed out of the room, pretty much resigned to giving up on it for the day. Then, without the barrier of the computer between us, we talked a little bit. When I told her the only other table convenient was in the dining room -- where I thought she wouldn't want me to set up at -- she suggested I do just that. So here I am, in the dining room, reading through a devotional that is all too fitting for the situation this morning. Relationships take work. Marriages, being the toughest and (hopefully) most enduring of all relationships, take an even greater effort. More work. They do not last without love. They do not last without faithfulness. They do not last without communication. Just as I mentioned on Average Joe American recently, communication is the cornerstone of any civilized society -- which includes any loving marriage. It can become too easy to spend all of our communication time talking about money, and bills, and the kids, and what needs done around the house, and all too easy to not spend it telling each other how we feel and what we need from each other. We must communicate. Both ways. All the time. About more than the mundane.
  • P: Lord, help me to keep this realization of how important communication is to the success of my marriage. Help me to open my ears when my wife speaks and to remember that she is more important than whatever else is vying for my attention at the time. Help us both to open up the lines of communication and to share with each other what we think, how we feel, and what we need from each other. And help us to just put the mundane issues out of the way for a while.

FIDELITY means a stubborn dedication to growth in personal relationship. A marriage partnership must have room for individual growth; but at the beating heart of any marriage is the delicate, fragile -- often painful -- but potentially joyful relationship of two persons face to face in personal encounter. The vital core of marriage is the special kind of sexual communion that vibrates on every level -- physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. All the institutional dimensions are only the framework for the dynamic center. And if partners are faithful in the complex ways mentioned above, their fidelity will mean a steady dedication to the growth of an honest and open relationship in every dimension.

Fidelity is best practiced with an implicit understanding that the relationship happens within a permanent, lifelong structure. But within the structure of permanence, relationships are constantly shifting: they are never stagnagt, but grow deeper or become shallower. To be faithful means that we can never lazily accept the present as our fated destiny. For relationships never have to be what they are; they can change. The future has possibilities wherever two willing human beings affirm its possibilities for them. No one can make a claim to faithfulness in marriage if he does not keep the door open to the possibilities that his relationship can be better tomorrow than it is today.

Personal relationships are nourished only through communication, and communication between two people enmeshed in daily preoccupations with jobs, budgets, diapers and new math can be very difficult to maintain. For one thing, it takes time . . . And, above all, it takes desire. Personal communication is difficult because it is painful for us to talk about what we are feeling; it is much easier to discuss the unbalanced checking account than to discuss how we feel toward wach other. But more, it is difficult because when we talk we are not sure what becomes of our message after it is filtered through the receptive apparatus of the person who receives it . . . Fidelity will give us the job of finding out what the other person is actually hearing from us and of patiently probing what the other person is acutally trying to say.

--From the Men's Devotional Bible by Zondervan (link above)

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