FAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTEMPT?

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During a morning Bible Study a group of women were discussing how to have loving relationships with their husbands.  The group leader asked them ‘how many of you love your husbands?’. All the hands shot up. She then asked ‘when last did you tell your husband that you loved him?’ Some answered yesterday, some today and some couldn’t remember when last they had told their husbands that they loved them!

The Bible study leader than asked every women present to send their husbands a text message telling them that they loved them. After a few minutes the husbands started to reply and she asked the ladies to read the replies out loud.

The following was some of the replies:

  • Are you sick?
  • Have you damaged the car?
  • I don’t understand what you mean. What have you done?
  • Am I dreaming?
  • Who was this message meant for?
  • Your mother is coming to visit again, isn’t she?
  • You promised me you wouldn’t drink during the day!

{From Ouboet Johan Bronkhorst, Grap Blad vir Almal.}

The above may seem quite humorous but it is actually a sad indictment of what a lot of marriages are like nowadays. We don’t invest enough time and thought into the marriage and eventually we even forget to tell our spouses that we love them. And then, when we do tell them we love them, they immediately become suspicious and think we have an ulterior motive.

A good verse to memorize for your marriage is Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” There is no better way to build your spouse up then by telling them you love them on a daily basis and for them to hear the actual words said aloud.

Why is it that some marriages embody the saying ‘familiarity breeds contempt’? The longer some couples stay together, the more irritated and impatient they become with one another. Mel Schwartz has the following to say about this:

When we honor one another we’re not likely to experience contempt. The disdain comes from not getting our needs met. It originates from a turning away from your partner and a relationship philosophy that more likely resembles a “me first” attitude. Contempt is the emotional reaction to not feeling cared for and perhaps disrespected. When we feel valued by our partners, our relationships are inclined to thrive. At the least, this feeling of being valued tends to limit hostility and scorn. When we devalue our partners, contempt becomes very prevalent.

Marriages develop problems when the husband and wife grow apart from each other instead of closer together and the beginning of this growing apart is when we stop telling our spouse that we love them and instead carry on with our own lives within the marriage.

This is not how God envisioned marriage! He stated at the beginning of time “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24)

God never stops telling us that He loves us. Every new sunrise, every rainbow, every cloud in the sky is God’s daily expression of His love for us. The Bible, His word to us, is full of His love for us. We need to show the same love to our spouses on a daily basis.

If you haven’t done so yet I would suggest that you read the book of Ruth in the Bible. This book has so much to teach us about faithfulness, love, obedience and commitment. Our attitude and commitment to our marriage should be the same as Ruth’s commitment to Naomi.

The following words spoken by Ruth should be the same words we speak to our spouses:

Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.  Your people will be my people and your God my God.  Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.  May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.  (Ruth 1:16 & 17)

About Noelene

I am a child of God's. I am also a writer. Mother Teresa once said "I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world". My objective is to be one of God's love letters to the world. I can only achieve this through His grace at work in my life.
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