Monday, September 6, 2010

Dare 35

"Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed." -Proverbs 15:22
Love is accountable. Now, I usually don't prefer to just take whole paragraphs out of a book and post them, but Kendrick's following example of Sequoia trees is too perfect to pass up. "Mighty sequoia trees tower hundreds of feet in the air and can withstand intense environmental pressures. Lightning can strike them, fierce winds can blow, and forest fires can rage around them. But the sequoia endures, standing firm, only growing stronger through the trials. One of the secrets to the strength of this giant tree is what goes on below the surface. Unlike many trees, they reach out and interlock their roots with the sequoias around them. Each becomes empowered and reinforced by the strength of the others."
I'm sure by now you already see where this is going. The secret of the sequoias interlocking their roots with those around them is a strong key to what we should be doing in marriages. Those who interlock their lives in a network of other strong marriages radically increase their chances of surviving the fiercest of storms (Kendrick). Pursuing godly advice, healthy friendships, and experienced mentors are a must for a strong, healthy marriage.
Provers 12:15 says, "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel." That verse has always been difficult for me to read. I must admit that at times, advice and constructive criticism is the furthest thing from what I want. My attitude far too often drifts to ignoring the advice I'm given, or doing the exact opposite. I hate that about me. I know accepting advice is wise...I suppose insecurity rears its ugly head when I realize I don't know everything and would do well to listen and learn. Do you ever feel the same way?
Wisdom is more valuable than gold. That is why it is so important to have an older married couple mentoring you in your marriage. Someone of the same sex should be helping both you and your spouse. (Not a woman helping Zane, or a man leading me...that opens up the door for disaster quicker than a serpant leading us to eat an apple!) "Good marriage mentors warn you before you make a bad decision. They encourage you when you are ready to give up. And they cheer you on as your reach new levels of intimacy in your marriage" (Kendrick).
Hebrews 3:13 says "encourage one another day after that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." Be careful. While it is important to have a mentor you can be honest with, a best friend whose marriage is unhealthy is the wrong person to be going to for advice. We need to be seeking people out who have been through the storms and come out stronger--People who can help us build bridges rather than tell us to get out while we can, or seek happiness for ourselves. Guard against those who will encourage you to act selfishly and influence you wrongly.
We need to know this truth: Your marriage is worth every second spent and every sacrifice you will make for it. Just because our marriage may not be in immediate danger, we are in no less need of honest, open mentors--people who can put wind in our sails (Kendrick).
Romans 14:12 says/warns "each one of us will give an account of himself to God." Though we are ultimately responsible for that unbreakable appointment, we can surely stand to accept as much help as others are willing to give.
"In abundance of counselors there is victory." -Proverbs 11:14
Dare 35: Find a marriage mentor, pray about it, and ask God to direct your decisions and discernment.
Dare 34: Celebrate godliness.
Dare 33: Complete each other.
Dare 32: Satisfy your spouse's "needs"
Dare 31: Spouse=Top Priority of Earthly Relationships
(For previous dares, refer to earlier entries.)

--Inspired by Kendrick's, "The Love Dare"

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