In case you didn’t know, John’s very competitive. (I am too. I’m the one telling the story so I don’t have to mention that, but I’m trying to be fair).
We were on a golf course and I thought John acted like a jerk and hurt my feelings and I got teary and after arguing about it we didn’t speak.
Towards the end of our round he said, “Do you have any ideas about how to get on the solution side of this?” And I said “No.” and that was that.
Ok, maybe it wasn’t my finest hour.
We went our separate ways and I talked to two of my best friends, both of whom said they didn’t know what the issue was, but they were on my side. Totally. They were sure I was completely right and justified in my feelings and John deserved the worst punishment imaginable. They are very good friends.
I told them we were supposed to speak to engaged couples about how to have a happy marriage at a marriage mentor dinner at 6:00. Ugh.
My one friend said “You guys have the best marriage of anyone I know so I’m sure you’ll get it figured out by 6:00.”
I wasn’t sure I wanted to get it figured out. What I really wanted to do was tell John he was on his own and he could go talk about marriage without me. (Again, not my finest hour.)
John and I both ended up at home for lunch. I was silent (my family’s way of dealing with conflict). He tried again. He apologized.
I said it was fine, but I still didn’t like him very much.
Later in the afternoon I started thinking about John, and our marriage, and a gift he got last Christmas.
I thought of the bank that Katy and Maggie gave him. You push a coin through the slot in the top and there’s a digital counter that adds up the amount in the jar. John and the girls spent a chunk of Christmas day putting in coins and seeing the amount grow. Now it sits on a stand at our back door where John can add his change when he comes in. It’s about 3/4 full and registers $83.50.
We’ve been married 28 years and John’s done a LOT to make deposits in our relationship.
I thought of all the ways he honors me, affirming me both publicly and privately. And more than that how he honors me by what he doesn’t say.
Example: He has never said “Gee, do you really think you should eat that ginormous 983 calorie dessert with 52 grams of fat?” (For which I’m eternally grateful.)
Then I thought of how he serves me in so many little ways, like covering me with a blanket when we’re watching TV or calling every day when he’s on his way home from work to see if I need anything at the store.
Over the years John has been a jerk once or twice. And I’ve been a jerk more often than that. Each time we’ve made withdrawals from our relational bank.
I’m thankful for the deposits we’ve made and the reserve that’s there. It all adds up…makes sense, and that’s the truth and it’s ok, but what about when it doesn’t?
In many relationships the withdrawals are greater than the deposits and God calls it grace.
Grace doesn’t add up. Doesn’t make sense. Grace doesn’t keep track of wrongs…or withdrawals.
God doesn’t keep track when John is thoughtless or I am selfish. His mercies are new every morning and the bank is always full. There’s the math that counts and the math that doesn’t and in marriage, although the deposits that build trust are important, we’re dependent on the math that doesn’t count.
For that I am profoundly grateful.
So today, what mercies are you thanking God for? How are you making deposits of loving service in the lives of those around you?
Be devoted to one another in love.