Inside or out, Christ should be No. 1 in relationships
I’ll never forget the day we moved into our first home. Finally! We were married on June 11, 1983, then three and a half weeks later, Jeff left for the Philippines to continue to serve in the U.S. Air Force, while I stayed back here in the states, with my parents. Now, nine months later we were finally able to move in together and have a home.
As you can imagine, I was ecstatic; I was finally able to decorate and create the little home that Jeff and I dreamed of. I had been planning and preparing for exactly what I wanted it to look like the whole time Jeff was overseas. I had refurbished some furniture handed down to me from my grandma, and I couldn’t wait to see it all put together with the over 100 wedding gifts we received.
I soon found out though, that Jeff had a different idea of what our home would look like. While I was planning and preparing here in the states, Jeff was overseas buying furniture without telling me anything about it. I’ll never forget when he pulled the puka-shell lamps out of the box he had bought over in the Philippines. The lamp shades were made out of brown and white shells, and the base was a wood carved hut on stilts with a little door about 2 by 3 inches that opened just in case we wanted to store anything in it. (Can you see my eyes roll?) As lovely as those could be in someone's home that was doing a tropical theme, that was NOT at all what I had planned for our home.
This was the early 1980s and country theme was the going thing in decor, and that was what I was planning on, not some tropical oasis.
As Jeff and I began to unpack our things and blend our two households together, our differences really began to show when I asked Jeff to hang some pictures on the wall and he hung them about two inches from the ceiling.
It was at that point I realized Jeff and I were going to have to have a talk about some ground rules. So, I suggested, “Hey baby, you know, when people walk into this house, they aren’t thinking. Wow, Jeff did an amazing job decorating this home. Nope! Babe, they are going to be looking at me for the decorating and I'm not taking the blame for that.” Pointing to the picture hanging just an inch or two from the ceiling (while really thinking about those lamps!) “So how about we make the decisions now, that inside the house, I will make all the decisions about decorating and you can make all the decisions outside?”
Jeff agreed, and we continued on in setting up our home. Only to again, minutes later, soon disagree on the next subject. The conversation began to get a little heated and all of the sudden, Jeff threw down what he had in his hand and stomped out the front door. My first thought was “Oh no! My husband is leaving me before we even start living together!” I was shocked because this wasn’t typical of Jeff’s personality. He never flies off the handle and gets mad like that. In that split second, I wondered, had he changed that much being overseas? Was I such a terrible wife, he was leaving me before we even started living together? I was shocked.
He grabbed open the front door as if he was about to slam it behind him, but then as soon as he walked out the door he turned around, stood on the porch and looked me straight in the eye and said as serious as he could be. “Now I am outside and I say it needs to be…”
We both burst out laughing and that has pretty much been the way our marriage has been ever since. Laughter, fun and me still trying to get my way!
Adjusting in our roles as husband and wife and learning to live together is an adventure for any couple. But so is accepting to live a life following Christ. When we accept Christ as our personal Savior, it’s no longer just about what you want. It is about considering the other person in the relationship.
Christ needs to be the first person in any relationship. In your marriage or singleness. If you aren’t considering Him in everything you do then you aren’t really living for Him. You are still living for yourself.
Christ gave His life so that we might have life. Not just an ordinary life but a life more abundantly. John 10:10 NIV tells us “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life.” Now some people think that is talking about money, but if you read the whole chapter, there is more to that. It is talking about the relationship Christ has with us and His father.
He tells us that He willingly laid down His life for us. Romans tells us, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” See, when we didn't deserve it, Christ still gave. Gave Himself for us. Came from Heaven to earth to show us the way to heaven; He loves us so much He died for us.
Relationships are hard. Anytime you put more than one person in a room, there is eventually going to be a disagreement. There are going to be different ideas and opinions, and if you are going to live in peace, compromises have to be made. Someone has to lead; someone has to follow. For Jeff and I, we have learned that each of us have our giftings. We both have different strengths. It is only when we allow the person who knows best to lead with what they know.
But what do we do when things don’t go the way we think they should, do we stomp out the door of God’s heart and leave Him?
Jeff was just teasing me and making a point all at the same time, but all too often in relationships we check out when we don’t get our way. But we can’t do that with God.
We need to trust that the creator of the universe loves us so much that He wants the best for us, and because He created us and everything in this world, He might just know a little more than we do.
That is the only way we are going to live a full and abundant life God promised us. So this week, the choice is yours. Will you trust Him even if it doesn't make sense in your mind? Is having your own way more important than trusting the person who predicted His own death, burial and resurrection and then pulled it off. Because I am thinking if someone can do that, we definitely need to listen to what they say!
Alesa Lewis Miller is the former pastor’s wife of Lighthouse Worship Center in Greensburg. Now, she and her husband are US Missionary Candidates with the Assemblies of God. To find out more about the Miller's new adventure and how you can help, go to www.millers4usmissions.com or read more stories at www.behindparsonagewalls.com.