Sunday, February 15, 2009

Day 6: Love is not Irritable

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.---Proverbs 16:32
Love is hard to offend and quick to forgive. How easily do you get irritated and offended? Some people have the motto, "never pass up an opportunity to get upset with your spouse." When something goes wrong, they quickly take full advantage of it by expressing how hurt or frustrated they are. But this is the opposite reaction of love.

The truth is, love does not get angry or hurt unless there is a legitimate and just reason in the sight of God. A loving husband will remain calm and patient, showing mercy and restraining his temper. Rage and violence are out of the question. A loving wife is not overly sensitive or cranky but exercises emotional self-control.

Why do people become irritable? There are at least 2 key reasons that contribute to it:
Stress. Stress weighs you down, drains your energy, weakens your health, and invited you to be cranky. It can be brought on by relational causes: arguing, division, and bitterness. There are excessive causes: overworking, overplaying, and overspending. And there are deficiencies: not getting enough rest, nutrition, or exercise. Oftentimes we inflict these daggers on ourselves, and this sets us up to be irritable.

Life is a marathon, not a sprint. This means you must balance, prioritize, and pace yourself.

The Bible can help you avoid unhealthy stress. It teaches you to let love guide your relationship so you aren't caught up in unnecessary arguments (Colossians 3:12-14). To pray through your anxieties instead of tackling then on your own (Philippians 4:6-7). To delegate when you are overworked (Exodus 18:17-23). To avoid overindulgence (Proverbs 25:16).

But there is a deeper reason why we become irritable---
Selfishness. When you're irritable, the heart of the problem is primarily a problem of the heart. Jesus said, "Out of the abundance of the heart the moth speaks" (Matthew 12:34). Some people are like lemons: when life squeezes them, they pour out a sour response. Some are like peaches: when the pressure is on, the result is still sweet. Being easily angered is an indicator that a hidden area of selfishness or insecurity is present where love is supposed to rule. But selfishness also wears many other masks:

is the result of being ungrateful for what you have and choosing to covet or burn with passion for something that is forbidden.

takes root when you respond in a judgmental way and refuse to work through your anger.

for more money and possessions will frustrate you with unfulfilled desires. These strong cravings coupled with dissatisfaction lead you to lash our at anyone who stands in your way.

leads you to act harshly in order to protect your ego and reputation.

These motivations can never be satisfied. But when love enters your heart, it calms you down and inspires you to quit focusing on yourself. It loosens your grasp and helps you let go of unnecessary things.
Love will lead you to forgive instead of holding grudges. To be grateful instead of greedy. To be content rather than rushing into more debt. Love encourages you to be happy when someone else succeeds rather than lying awake at night in envy. In each decision, love ultimately lowers your stress and helps you release the venom that can build up inside.

Today's Dare
Choose today to react to tough circumstances in your marriage in loving ways instead of with irritation. Begin by making a list on a piece of paper of areas where you need to ass margin to your schedule. Then list any wrong motivations that you need to release from your life.

***So I asked the question....I asked what irritated him about me...not exactly the question you want to ask on V-Day...or better the answer you want to hear. At lunch, I asked, and he was silent....SILENT....he couldn't think of anything. Seriously? So I told him to think about it the rest of the day and let me know. Bad idea (but good). The rest of the day all I heard was...."that is what annoys me"....if I did anything that frustrated him. Needless to say, it was more than 3 times. But none of them surprised me. I am really learning a lot about my self through this dare. Not only how I can be better in my marriage, but in general to everyone. The Golden Rule which we all have heard forever....well it really makes sense. If I am asking him something that I wouldn't want to be asked....I shouldn't ask it. If I am yelling at him....would I want to be yelled at?

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