Bible Verse: Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. (Song of Songs 8:6)

Scripture Reading: Song of Songs 8:6-8

Back in Bible College my friend Brian was faced with a dilemma. He had a number of papers due, but he realized there was no way he could possibly complete all of them in time. Deciding he had nothing to lose, he handed in something unique for his marriage counselling course. The paper on marriage preparation had a normal cover page, but when you opened to the first page it was completely blank; except for one line in the middle of the page that said, “Whatever you say, Dear.” He was given an extension.

The third risk of an altruistic marriage is indifference or disengagement. In an effort to put the needs of the other person first, we run the risk of automatically defaulting to whatever they want all the time and giving up any consideration of our self.

C.S. Lewis illustrates this in his book, The Screwtape Letters, in which a senior devil gives advice to a junior devil on how to tempt humans, “it becomes obligatory that A should argue in favour of B’s supposed wishes and against his own, while B does the opposite. It is often impossible to find out either party’s real wishes; with luck, they end by doing something that neither wants, while each feels a glow of self-righteousness and harbours a secret claim to preferential treatment for the unselfishness shown and a secret grudge against the other for the ease with which the sacrifice has been accepted.”

In addition to the resentment this can cause, we run the risk of growing distant from our partner. If we are not really expressing ourselves, then it is not really two people growing closer together. We engage less and create a wall between each other.

The challenge is finding the balance between putting the other person first and true interaction.

— Jeff Stearns, Content Director, Promise Keepers Canada

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