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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Loneliness – the Key to Experiencing God’s Presence

TIMES I’ve struggled most in my relationship with God are when life is going well.
Times I’ve made the best gains in growth and life have been when I’ve struggled; when part of me was dying.
Times when I’ve been plodding along with the flow and rhythm of life have been times when God hardly got a look in.
But on top of all these observations, God gets top billing every day nowadays because of a time in my life when I experienced an extended loneliness.
Loneliness back then, at a time when my old life died in so many ways, was the key to actually experiencing God’s Presence. Having chosen to do go with God, no matter what, meant, despite the excruciating reality of loneliness, I was able to know God was there with me. There was an intrinsic communication between God and I, in tearful lament, in anger, in brokenness, and when there was no confidence in me.
It was heartrending grief that takes us there — to a place where, God alone, can reach us. And still, if we struggle to get any sort of connection going with God, we are advised simply to reflect into ourselves. This is why loneliness is the key. When there is no longer any distraction from the outside world, we have the perfect opportunity to enter the sorrowful boredom of aloneness. Then we get to know ourselves.
It seems horrible, but we imagine God is there with us — because he is.
Even though the lonely realisation is full of fear and there is a lack of hope, we may search for and know the one who can calm our fright and provide a vision to believe in.
Loneliness is the opportunity we have waited all our lives for, if we hope to know God’s Presence.
The more we are by ourselves and lost to the world, the more God can find us by the Presence of his Spirit.
God turns the hopelessness of loneliness into the greatest hope of all — by his Presence in that loneliness. Imagine he is there with you, for he is.
Imagine God is there,
Right beside you now,
Imagine him ask you,
To give in to him and allow.
Imagine God right there,
Someone to whom you can relate,
Imagine him make it happen,
For this loneliness to abate.
The best experience of God is garnered from the loneliest desperation.
Once this is experienced, even once, we can never be the same again. Loneliness, God convinces us, was the very key to experiencing his healing Presence.
And, perhaps best of all, loneliness convicts us to search out a community who will love us — the church.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak, Slow to Judge

THOSE who are quick to judge thwart the meaning of love.
They cut off the love that could be theirs to give by interjecting with their curtness. Brusque etiquette is always a recipe for disaster. Everyone can see the pride rearing up in someone who is quick to judge. Pride begets anger. And anger is what underlies someone who is prepared to cut people off to get their own way. They might intend on showing their love, but they thwart themselves on their very way. This is one reason why the “love wins” campaign falls flat. Those who point the finger at “hypocritical Christians” do not realise they, themselves, are failing love’s most basic test. Those accused of hypocrisy in terms of love are given the perfect opportunity to exemplify meekness. People who love don’t necessarily have the best counterargument. They absorb hurts in a forgiving way.
Those who mean to love thwart those who are quick to judge.
When we have the humility of meekness, which is to love no-matter-what, we have what it takes in meaning to love. We easily thwart those who are quick to judge, for no spoken response would be good enough to thwart them otherwise. If we are serious about love, which is nothing about winning, and the acceptance of losing a battle to win the war of souls, we will routinely frustrate those who are pretending to love, but are too quick to judge to ever prove authentic. This Christianly love overcomes.
Those who are mean with love are thwarted by being quick to judge.
Being mean with our love is shown up in our being quick to judge. By being quick to judge we show ourselves as being mean with our love. Such a love as a mean love is, of course, no love at all. It falls flat and can hence be described in many other terms, and none of those is even close to love.
Being mean with love thwarts those who are quick to judge.
When those who are mean with their love transfer their subconscious anger onto others, without knowing it, meaning they are quick to judge, the effect is they are quick to judge. To be mean with love is to be quick to judge.
This, of course, is the biblical principle of James 1:19-21 — be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.
There are three sure ways to love: 1) be quick to listen; 2) be slow to speak; 3) be slow to anger.
In a world that thinks love is an emotion we have the opportunity of showing love is action based in meek humility.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Commitment and Cost of Unconditional Love

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE is a thing that is only best exemplified in God. Human beings may aspire to unconditional love, and certainly parents — in most cases — find it inherent in their love for their children.
But there is a commitment and a cost borne to it. It cannot be unconditional otherwise. The closest we may bear this love is through the “love of the Spirit,” which the apostle Paul talks about in Romans 15:30 and Colossians 1:8. This is an unusual love that is inherently committed to the point of patiently enduring its costliness. What makes it genuine and able to withstand the tests of life is the Spirit — the fruit of the Spirit is love.
Genuine love is unconditional as it is unconditional to love genuinely. Such a love transcends emotion. It is imbued by unwavering attitude and courageous action.
But, whatever is unconditional is beyond our control. Such a commitment will cost.
Love will cost us if it’s real. And love can only be real if it’s unconditional. It is easy to advocate the rights of a minority and believe that love wins, but can that love spend itself as love over all minorities equally? Remember love is costly.
We will not get our own way if we love.
Love ought to be closely associated with the concept of sacrifice.
Of course, love’s greatest sacrifice is loss. We definitely do not get our own way in loss, but we experience loss because we love. Loss is love’s chief lesson. What we love in this world we will ultimately lose. But the true things of love are eternal.
We cannot join a movement by the name of Love and be selective in our expression.
If we genuinely love — unconditionally — we will find ourselves moving into costly territory.
Unconditional love will challenge our pride. It will challenge our desires. It will force us to review and reconfigure how we interact with certain people. Those we find it hard not to despise. Those we find it impossible to like.
Consider these costs. The sort of love expressed by the Father in giving his own Son. The sort of love expressed in the Son giving up his own life. The sort of love expressed in the Father giving us the Spirit of his Son. These three expressions of love are illustrative of love’s costly power. These are commitments transcend any force for hatred.
We cannot express hate and say we love.
Love requires us to love even, and especially, when it hurts us.
Genuine love is unconditional, as it can only be without condition that we love genuinely.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

What is Chronic Sorrow, How is it Different to Depression?

PARENTS of special needs children are not estranged to feelings of ‘what could or should have been’ — indeed, their lives might be polarised violently between such states of living loss and fleeting moments of joy for milestones reached. It’s hard to know from my viewpoint because none of my children are profoundly impaired, although I do have a special needs child and we have lost an infant who certainly would have been profoundly impaired. Our sense for living loss is, perhaps, we don’t know how impaired our son would have been — how normal a life he might have lived.
Chronic sorrow is a condition of life suffered by those with children of all sorts of disabilities, as well as those people, for just one instance, who are familial caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s disease and other ongoing illnesses, including cancer. Chronic sorrow may be a form of ambiguous loss, which produces complicated grief.
Complicated grief often leads to depressive conditions, and even to associated disorders, because the experiences of past (and in some cases, biology) cannot be transcended. There is the sense that a person who has complicated grief may have always lived with it, right throughout their development from their earliest memory.
Chronic sorrow, therefore, emanates from a source quite different from typical complicated grief. It was enacted at a point in life that is discernible from the rest of life. It enacted and then remained, either for a season or indefinitely.
Chronic sorrow should be differentiated from depression, at least as far as our approach to healing is concerned. Depression carries with it a raft of holistic signs and symptoms, whereas chronic sorrow may be more specific in its affect. Depression can be quite systemic, yet chronic sorrow might be considered more of a strength-and-joy-testing state of being. Those with chronic sorrow are probably in situations where their own state of emotionality isn’t intrinsic to the problem, but it is an effect of the problems they face.
Hope is something those with chronic sorrow need. It is so much easier if a person with chronic sorrow has an operant faith in the Lord Jesus, for there is an eternal hope that can be lived today, all days, and ultimately in eternity. Indeed, many with chronic sorrow find themselves drawn to Christian faith to survive and thrive in their lives.
There is a compensation for sufferers of chronic sorrow. They are accorded the gifts of patience, strength, the wisdom of resilience, and of extraordinary compassion. They are not perturbed about first world problems. What a blessing that is!
There is also hope in this: chronic sorrow is an extrinsic condition that is cast over us, rather than depression, where the problem is in us. There is hope that we might develop the emotional and spiritual resilience, even in chronic sorrow, that allows us to live the truly victorious life.
The best hope for those with chronic sorrow is to acquire the gift of being able to live happily in their reality.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.
For more information on Chronic Sorrow, go to this link.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

5 Qualities of Quality Friendship

VALUING people is the most palpable relationship currency; it is otherwise known as friendship. Here are just a few things to reflect over when it comes to friendship — something we have the privilege to offer and the blessing to receive.
1.     A friend is someone who accepts how we see justice. This doesn’t mean friends always understand how we see justice, they just accept the way we see things, without needing to convince us otherwise or change us. They have empathy. They know that support is couched in respecting our ability to know right from wrong. (Not many mature adults, given cause for reflection, don’t know right from wrong; a friends trusts that we will work it out without needing to be told.)
2.     Good friends, therefore, are dignifying. They will pray how to respectfully challenge us on issues we are struggling with. Grace has the upper hand over truth, and, this is appropriate, given that friendship is a special relationship. When trust is implicit, it is remarkable how much licence friends give us to speak truth into their lives. It’s because we know how to love them whilst also being honest.
3.     To a friend the offences of a friend are excused with grace. Soon the offender says sorry and seeks forgiveness. That’s the mark of friendship: the relationship matters significantly more to both persons than any one polarising issue.
4.     Discernment is nested in a thing called friendship. Friends are able to ‘see’ one another. There are things that friends can see in us that others won’t. A friend will note when we need an extra dose of encouragement, or when we could do with support, and when we need to be motivated. Discernment shows the love of awareness and the commitment of love to speak up or act in kindness.
5.     Of course, it’s a biblical principle that friends will lay down their lives — figuratively or actually — for us, and we for them (see John 10:15). There is always the willingness to give rather than receive. And the only exception to that is when our friend’s needs might actually outweigh our own. Then we have the privilege of laying down our lives for them.
The mark of friendship is the behaviour of love from one to another and vice versa.
If we have no friends that make this list of qualities it’s about time we did two things. Pray to God that: 1) we might be a friend like this and, therefore, draw to ourselves friends like this, and 2) he might draw us toward people who will love us like a friend would.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A New Way to View Your Time

FATHER’S day and Mother’s Day communicate two things: how important they are to us and how important they were. And if we never had such loving examples of what all of life is about, then we know for sure what we miss.
Yet, in our personality culture (where personalities disturb our focus from the family) we lose sight of the importance of the actual life that God has given us. Some of us want to know all about the personalities we love. Others of us want to become more of what or who the personality brand is. Others, again, want to become a personality in their own right. A personality is a celebrity.
Everything we hold as important in life has an impact on our time.
We always find time to do the things that are important to us. And if what is important to us in not really that important — on the eternal stage — then we are wasting our lives. We get to ask of ourselves, if we are reflective, how much of our lives are we wasting (as opposed to leisure time, which is healthy)?
None of us want to admit to too many people we are wasting our lives. But God knows and so do we.
We are living for eternity. That is a fact of reality. But it may not be a fact of our experience. We might be living a lie of a life like most of the population. We have all denied God’s truth so regularly; that has translated in our wasted use of time.
We are living for eternity. Everything we do in this earthly life will have significance in that life over yonder — just a bit further away than we can see or know.
A new way to view our time is to live intentionally for eternity — to make the absolute most of our family relationships right now. This doesn’t mean we have to spend all our time with our parents, but it does mean it’s crucial to say what only we can say now, while we have the chance. It doesn’t mean we have to live in our siblings’ back pockets, but we are compelled, by our limited time here, to put things right so far as it depends on us. We make things right between us and estranged friends. We ensure our children know — by our actions — how much they are loved. We respect and are kind to our co-workers and neighbours, now. And underpinning all this is an approach to our own personhood couched in truth.
We get the therapy we need while we can so we can life at peace with our truth.
Time is understatedly precious. The best way to view time is back from a vision from eternity.
Everything looks right through a true lens. The only true lens with which to view time is through the lens of eternity.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Great Hope Available Through Depression

IMPOSSIBLE is a word that is suitably challenged by anyone who believes.
We are so used to accepting that depression is the end in itself — a despairing disposition that either has us resigned to hopelessness or challenged with courage to overcome.
Could it be possible that there is a great hope available through depression?
It is this: because of depression there are deep incursions into the reality of our personal existence. We will experience more life through depression, not less. But our conceptions of what life is will have to be challenged. Of course, there has to be hope that we will convey all the way through the depression to a land of ascension. And when we do, we have this enormous stock of depth to ourselves that people who haven’t had depression just can’t possibly have. Depression is a life experience. It gives us entry into compassion for the suffering. It helps us be vulnerable enough to reach out for help. And depression pours contempt all over our pride.
The great hope available only through depression is the life-transforming gravity that moulds our soul in an irrevocably good way. But this hope must be front of mind in order to know the goodness of God converts bad things into good for those who love him.
If we believe in the possibility of overturning the impossible and making it real in our experience we begin to believe in miracles when that actually takes place.
The privilege for the believer is they hold to the possibility of miracles — not least, in their own life. And when the miracle comes to pass, because it was believed upon, our belief in God is not only engorged, but we bask in the glory of the new manifestation.
The manifestation we believe for is a great hope that becomes a beneficence to us, personally. Suddenly, not only do we see hope in overcoming our depression, but we see a burgeoning hope that we now see its very purpose — the deepening of our personhood.
God used depression to make us mature and able to survive anything, if we can hope beyond the despair of the depression itself. That is an act of the will — a pure decision that anyone can make.
God uses the darkness of this life — all of which combine in our depression — to make us mature and able to survive anything. If we see the potential for growth because of our depression we can begin to believe good can come from it.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Conservatives, Progressives, Peacemakers and Same-Sex Marriage

BREWING is a new war. Not the aggressive secularists and new Atheists against the church and the Christian worldview, but between protagonists in the Christian milieu. There is an emergent battle, hot on the heels of militants of the marriage equality lobby. The new battle will help the marriage equality lobby no end. This new battle pits the conservative against the progressive and vice versa. Quickly forgotten in the midst of politics are the gospel basics, but we need to know that political issues have been fought and have needed to be fought, within the church, from ancient times.
As those being labelled ‘progressive’ begin to fall — some having fallen for the issue of same-sex marriage since close to the beginning — the chasm broadens. The conservative is frustrated that his or her progressive brother or sister is weakening the cause. The progressive is appalled at the ongoing harm the church is suffering, as Christians are labelled bigots and homophobes. But, to be fair, the genuine progressive is more appalled that his or her conservative brother or sister, in their view, may fail the test of love. To think this is self-righteousness.
The progressive sees the issue as a justice issue. The conservative remains unfazed; it’s a moral issue. But the justice issue is also a moral issue. Those who once had an iron-clad case against same-sex marriage now observe that same cladding as rusted all the way through. The moral case has backfired. The conservative Christian is now on the stand, or so it appears.
A word on appearances. It does appear that the debate is hotting up, yet not all appearances are what they seem. There are the vocal minorities on each side of the extreme. These are the voices we cannot drown out. We take them to bed with us. They resound within our dreams. They concern us with what they say, but more in how they say it. Whichever side we are on there is some real concern for the direction this is headed in and for what is being said.
But there are literally millions of us in the middle — nearly all of us sit more appropriately in the mid-ground, closer to the conservative end if truth be told. Many of us can offer some sort of qualified opinion. Many of us have some valuable context to share. But social media is not really a platform we should choose to use, no matter what side of the debate our allegiances lay. It is a devil’s playground for this sort of thing.
If we don’t have a role as a conservative or a progressive — i.e. we don’t hold down a role in the public square in either of these schools of thought — then we are not compelled to choose a side. Our hearts have made a choice on the information we have gleaned. But we are not under any pressure to join one lobby or the other.
What would Jesus do?
Jesus wouldn’t join either lobby, because Jesus shunned the political locale — not that politics is inherently evil. Jesus was just no Pharisee or Caesar or Scribe. Jesus’ role was not to advocate for any other side than the meagre, the maltreated, the marginalised, and the maimed. Jesus was a peacemaker. His role was not as a conservative or a progressive, and, though he was deeply radical, it would be wrong for the progressive to think they are more Jesus-like than the conservative. Again, to think this is self-righteousness.
Peacemaking in Wartime
We have the opportunity to be the peacemakers. Not to make peace our object between the conservative and the progressive; that is, to oversee and manoeuvre and broker a truce — an impossible task.
Being a peacemaker means praying for conservatives and progressives alike; that they may glorify our Lord in every interaction and dialogue they are involved in. It means taking our opportunity to get out of the way. Maybe we are passionate about the topic, but our limited knowledge will only hinder debate. We stay well clear. Perhaps we do know much about the overall topic, yet we have resolved to love like Jesus does in a particular pacifistic (nonviolent) way. Maybe we see the damage this is doing to the church, but we are also encouraged to know that this is not the first political football to be kicked all over society or within the church.
Peacemaking in wartime is a blessed activity. And this has to be God’s call of the disciple who has no role in either camp. As peacemakers we don’t begrudge the conservatives for their defence of the same gospel. And as peacemakers we also don’t disparage progressives for preaching what God has put on their heart for what is seen as an equality issue. We pray for God’s understanding and for a divine perspective.
If we don’t have a role we have a role as peacemakers. And let us hope that we are not forced into one camp or the other. Peacemakers can play the role of relieving burdens and pressures through a pastoral approach.
The world needs to see Christ at work. Given that debates between Christian progressives and conservatives may tend toward messier conflicts from time to time, it’s good for the peacemaker to gently remind those speaking on either side to add some genuine Christian decorum into the mix before it’s too late.
As peacemakers, we make up probably eighty percent of the authentic Christian base. We are not in favour of change to marriage legislation, but we are also in favour of everyone being loved with the love of Christ. Some on the peacemaking front may resonate with the marriage equality lobby, but they don’t feel so passionate to enter the debate.
Blessed is the peacemaker who has been called to pray for Christians who agitate either for or against same-sex marriage. The peacemaker may have their view, and may hold to that view passionately, but their perspective is impelled by the image of their Lord for the damage such an issue can and is doing to the church.
The advocates on both Christian sides of the same-sex marriage issue deserve our prayers. They need our prayers. They are positioned to advocate from their position. We, otherwise, are positioned in order to be peacemakers. Our role to pray is no less important. We pray no damage is done to the name of Jesus. We pray all parties may advocate with integrity. We pray that whatever outcomes are reached that Jesus’ name is held up high and glorified.
© 2015 Steve Wickham. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Strangest Place to Find Happiness and Contentment

The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.
— Ecclesiastes 7:4 (NIV)
THERE is only blessing in the truth.
Although some truths are hard and we wish we had never learned them, by far and away the best portion in truth is the peace that comes from an aright understanding.
There is a cauterised sort of feeling we get when we are exposed to such a truth that is harrowing, but, in feeling cauterised, there is also the blessing of peace that nothing can harm us, if we can accept such a truth. Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, there are those truths in all our lives, and we call them reality!
Is there any more truth than the fullest kind in loneliness, grief and sorrow?
But, isn’t it a very just irony that we are closer to redeeming peace when we are in the ‘house of mourning’ than when we are in the ‘house of pleasure’! The house of pleasure still involves much jostling and revelry. We don’t want a good thing to end, yet all good things do just that: end. At least when we are in the house of mourning we know it can’t get much worse. We can hope upon hope. But that isn’t the end of it; not by a long shot.
There is happiness and contentment available in sadness and loneliness. It’s because we are safe with God, though unsafe in the world. The threats that impinge us here send us to eternity in our minds and hearts. And eternity is where the true source of lonely contentment and sad happiness resides.
This lonely contentment rests in the reality of things. We would prefer them better, but, because we accept the things we cannot change, we also accept this solemn season of life. Sad happiness is also the resignation of acceptance. We can be happy enough with the hope we have for a different future. There is a sanguine melancholy in us.
There is such a state as what is discussed above, if, indeed, you are a sceptic.
The qualifications of experiencing such diversity in mood and emotional outcome are simply to believe in and rely upon God.
The strangest place to find happiness and contentment is within sadness and loneliness. There is nothing that can be taken away from us in the truth of those locales.
There is a safety in sadness and we are never closer to God than when we are lonely.
The great advantage of grief is when we go to God in sorrowful and lonely reliance, our Lord becomes realer than ever before. Faith is the benefactor of grief.
© 2015 Steve Wickham. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

7 Reasons to Exercise Grace in the Toughest Relationships

Grace we receive in abundance from God,
Yet grace does not emanate from us the same way,
It’s hard to love others,
Especially some sisters and brothers,
So we must always guard what we say.
Ever notice that some people tend to press our ‘fury’ button easier and more regularly than others? In all this is the reminder, “God’s not finished with any of us yet.”
Here are some reasons to exercise grace:
1.     Understand, God’s not finished in you: the tragic irony implicit in my lack of grace is that I’m further than ever from my Creator God in thinking I’m all finished and perfected enough in his sight to think that God’s grace only has work in others to do.
2.     Accept, God’s not finished in them: if God’s not finished in us how can we expect that he’s finished in them? How can we hold them to a higher standard? How can we even hold them to as high a standard as we hold ourselves to? No, we can best accept that God’s grace is still refining them according to his plan and not our own.
3.     Comprehend, God’s not finished in the situation: how do we know how the situation might ultimately play out? Would we prefer to get in God’s way and procure our own result because we haven’t comprehended that our Lord’s not finished working yet? Doing God’s will is often about getting out of God’s way.
4.     Enjoy God’s grace in you: we will rarely come even close to understanding the consummate value of God’s grace in us — to experience his forgiveness and blessing. It can only be enjoyed; this sweeping sense of implicit compassion we never did deserve. When at last we can enjoy God’s mercy, then, at last, we have the very best of love’s life.
5.     Admire God’s grace in them: when we see how God’s grace has resurrected another person, and we see their gifts for what they are, with no grip of envy, we are blessed to see them in God’s finery. Sure, they have some known weaknesses, but just look at God’s glory in them as they strut what only they do as their best.
6.     Adore God’s grace in the situation: many times, having zipped my lips, God has given me cause, later, to thank him for his grace in me to accept the situation as it was — even though, personally, I may have been livid. All I can say is, “Wow! — thank you for your wisdom operant in me, there, Lord!” Far from taking any credit, when we see how God’s grace is already working we really can believe that God is so very good.
7.     Remember the grace of the Father in Jesus Christ: in terms of grace, there is no measure, no datum, and no surer guide like the grace of the Father in his Son’s crucifixion. If we can recall in a moment the calamitous sense of injustice in the cross, we can easily bear this marginal injustice before us.
The grace of the heavenly Father,
The giving of his only Son,
Or would we prefer to rather,
That Satan, instead, had won?
So why do we refuse God’s grace,
In the one before us now?
Better to seek God’s face,
Pray more grace to us he endow.

© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

7 Ways to Master Love in the Marriage Relationship

Marriages need love in order to survive and thrive. And love comes in so many shapes and forms it’s impossible to set rules around it. But these seven ways will help people master a sustained love in their marriage relationship:
1.     Love means respect, respect means love: there has been a lot said about the need of a woman partner to be loved and for a male partner to be respected. It would be better to say that women and men, alike, need to be loved and respected. Both deserve it. But, let’s face it, respect is merely a specific form of love. Respect is the love of honouring our partner. Respect is a love our partners deserve, but it’s not the only love they deserve.
2.     Step inside the other person and take a look at ourselves: we never get the justice we deserve until we depart from our self-imposed pride and begin to step inside the other person and see from their vantage point. Then, through their eyes, we take an honest look at ourselves. Then we know how we can repent. Suddenly we have the capacity to forgive, because we have both perspectives: theirs and ours.
3.     Mirror each other: a jovial mood in one partner needs to be met by a jovial mood in the other. The apostle Paul said to the Romans, “Mourn with those who mourn, rejoice with those who rejoice.” It is a great and sensible and safe way to love our partner — match and mirror their mood. Partners are a couple so they should mirror each other, especially during the important moments. The more we mirror our partner, the more we are like them, the less conflict we have, which equals satisfaction.
4.     Read your partner’s body language: we cannot know what our partner’s actual felt experience of situations unless we are looking as well as wondering: what are they thinking and feeling? Only when we begin to more fully read our soulmate do we stand the chance of knowing implicitly more of what they want.
5.     Bring prayer into the living of the marriage relationship: whether we are together or geographically apart, prayer should always connect us with God and our partner. We should, more or less, constantly pray for our partner. The more we think about our partner, the more our unconscious minds work underneath to consider them. God has partnered us with our partners so we might be as committed to them as we are to God, himself.
6.     Utilise the power of the apology to reconcile: reconciliation is the most important thing in conflicted relationships. Nothing matters more than being at peace with each other. Someone must simply break the deadlock. All relationships face times of attack. The best defence is peacemaking. Ensure you know your partners’ language of apology, and speak it.
7.     There is always hope, even when there’s no hope: whether it’s a crisis that our marriage is headed into or not matters little. If we have covenanted to be with our partner through every trial and tribulation it is our job to ensure we, personally, do not lose hope. Even if our partner chooses to walk away for any reason, we have the obligation to believe for reconciliation — to sacrifice ourselves to maintain order for the family.
Respectful love, empathy and honesty, discernment, prayer, reconciliation, and hope are seven key elements helping make marriage work.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.