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I watched the Fiddler on the Roof the other day. I love that movie. Especially the part where Tevye and Golde realize they love each other after 25 years of marriage:
Tevye: [in song] Do you love me?
Golde: [speaking] I’m your wife!
Tevye: [speaking] I know!
Tevye: But do you love me?
Golde: [singing] Do I love him? For twenty-five years I’ve lived with him, fought with him, starved with him. Twenty-five years, my bed is his…
Golde: [singing] If that’s not love, what is?
Tevye: [singing] Then you love me!
Golde: I suppose I do!
Tevye: And I suppose I love you too.
Tevye, Golde: [singing] It doesn’t change a thing, but even so… After twenty-five years, it’s nice to know.
My hubby likes to watch it with me. Then for the next few days it is so cute listen to him whistle and hum some of the songs from the movie.My hubby reminds of Tevye [played Topol] especially when he is singing the song “If I were a rich man…Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.”We have been married 7 years. My Salah is a very traditional man. Sometimes it is a challenge to my ego and pride.Then I remember all the ways he has been so gracious and loving toward me. At night, he enjoys eating fruit after dinner. Most nights he will enjoy apples, oranges, bananas, and other fruits. When he peels the orange, he will always lean over and say to me, “Here, honey, this is your share” and hand me half his orange. He will offer to bring me tea when he is getting his. He will upon occasion do the dishes, make the bed, and offers to help carry the laundry down to the basement for me. He reminds me when my tongue and voice becomes impolite by saying to me, “What is this ugliness?” He reminds upon occasion that he does not need me to speak for him when he having a conversation with my FBI and I try to help him out with language, “Hey, this is men talking to each other. This is between me and my FBI.” He holds me accountable to my part of caring for our home and animals. He holds me accountable to most everything…he keeps a close eye on me.Earlier this year, some of these things got under my skin and began to irritate me. My husband was laid off back in September of 2009.I found myself opening my mouth and out would come this awful attitude or response. It was not pretty. Over and over. Thoughts and words are related. Thoughts are unspoken words. Words are verbalized thoughts. Your words are a reflection of your thoughts…UGH! I was so frustrated…I could not tame my tongue.
Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief. Proverbs 21:23 The Message
I found myself amidst a totally new ‘comfort zone’ without ANY comfort. My attitude and responses to certain things began to weigh very heavily upon me. That is where the dark cloud comes over me. I wanted to scream, I wanted to yell, I wanted to say all that was in my heart…but the Lord placed His hand over my mouth and told me to be quiet. I kept saying, “But, Lord, he…” And the Lord places His hand over my mouth again. I said again, “But, Lord, he….” And the Lord placed His hand over mouth yet again this time telling me, “Be still child.” Then I said, “But, Lord, I don’t want anyone watching me so close. I want my privacy.” And there was the dark cloud storming above…my pure unadulterated pride was being poked [my dad used to warn us about the “Hemenway Pride”]. Suddenly, everything seemed very transparent and very self-centered.
If anyone thinks himself to be religious (piously observant of the external duties of his faith) and does not bridle his tongue but deludes his own heart, this person’s religious service is worthless (futile, barren). James 1:26 The Amplified Bible
I was smack dab face to face with my ugliness of my space being infringed upon. I was mad because I felt like I could not enjoy a leisurely coffee and breakfast. I was resentful because I could not take a nap in the middle of the afternoon just because I wanted to. I was frustrated because I couldn’t sit and watch a movie eating a snack instead of doing…anything more productive…like dusting or vacuuming or working outside in the yard. Instead I was constantly being held accountable for my actions and how I spent my day. I did not like facing the fact that I had become pure lazy! How do you think I put on all this weight? Not by keeping my hands busy doing my daily tasks.Drama. Drama. Drama. That is how I felt…I was making much more of it than necessary. But, laziness is a very serious condition just as overeating is. Both are equally bad for your health. And instead of rejoicing that Salah wanted to spend time with me doing projects like the goats, I slapped him in the face with my attitude of having my space infringed upon. Which led way to all kinds of other grief in the process. I openly admit I did not like being “watched” so closely. It would be so much easier and less painful if I placed it on him, but that would not honor the Lord, would not be true and would not teach me what I need to learn. No, it rests within me and I take responsibility for my actions and the consequences from them.
A man’s [moral] self shall be filled with the fruit of his mouth; and with the consequence of his words he must be satisfied [whether good or evil]. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]. Proverbs 18:20-21 Amplified Bible
Anyways, back to the movie…
This part of the movie reminds of the love that my husband shares with me every day…day in and day out…the good, the bad, and the ugly…in sickness and in health, to love, honor and obey. There are so many ways he demonstrates his love toward me and his commitment to our marriage. There are times when I look at him and I just plain do not get him…but then there are those moments when he looks at me and says something that just melts my heart. All that he does whether I agree with him or not, is done out of love. Just like God my Father. Wow what a gift.
I never really understood what it meant to really “love” until I found Jesus. When God first brought Salah into my life, I was not sure I wanted to even meet him. God knew all long the man He had ready for me…I am ever grateful it is my Salah.
I just love him, thank you Lord for making him the man he is.
~So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified.~
Ah, this has been a very difficult challenge area in my life recently. With both of us being unemployed and at home, we have stumbled over each other for past few months. In the beginning, I reacted to the differences I had discovered unfolding within my husband on my own terms and limited understanding of them. Each moment of opportunity would seem to flare up in my face and turn into an argument. There were moments when it appeared that we might not make it to the next day married. I kept asking myself, “What AM I doing wrong? Why is he treating me this way? Why doesn’t he listen better?” Then BOOOOOOMMM…it hit me…I was making it all about ME! I was trying to handle it ALL BY MYSELF. Silly me. Silly pride.
I eagerly sought out the Lord’s wisdom and guidance as to how to positively deal with the differences between the both of us. I found the answer within a book I had purchased several years ago [shortly after we were married]. The book is called “20 Rules and Tools for a Great Marriage” by Dr. Steve Stephens.
Here is some excerpts from the book: Rule 2: Accept Differences
“Every couple has its differences. Maybe spender has married a saver. Or a highly structured person is drawn to someone who celebrates spontaneity. Or a collector who likes a certain amount of clutter has married a tosser who draws great joy from clearing away clutter. God clearly has a sense of humor. He made us so that opposites attract. Often, once we get together, we drive each other crazy.
Sometimes it’s easy to let differences get the best of you, and you begin to believe that you’re just too incompatible to make your marriage work. NONSENSE!
We are all incompatible in some are or another. If compatibility were the main criteria for a great marriage, everyone would give up. God knows that balance is important;that’s why he gave you a spouse who is different from you. Thank him for those differences. Don’t try to pressure your partner into thinking of feeling or acting like you do. Instead, make an effort to understand and appreciate the differences.
If you grumble or nag, you will become bitter. If you fight, you will become frustrated. but if you relax and accept the differences as a blessing, you will learn the art of flexibility and compromise. You will grow in maturity, and the texture of your life will become richer. In the end, you will develop into a better person—a person of character and compassion.
Most conflicts are not about major moral or ethical issues but about different preferences. She wants it her way and he wants it his. The Bible asks, “What causes fights and quarrels among you??” In the next verse it answers its own question: “You want something but don’t get it” James 4:1-2, NIV.
As we learn to accept that we won’t always have to have it our way, marriage becomes a lot easier. After a while we realize that most of our fights are either stupid or selfish. As you learn to respect each other’s differences, you’ll find that you aren’t fighting as much and that you’re actually moving closer to each other. As you begin to accept the ways in which you and your spouse are different, you will begin to grow closer together. and as you grow closer, the differences will no longer seem like such a big deal.
Let’s pray together:
Thank you for making my partner just the way he is—with all his strengths and weaknesses and differences. Before the earth was formed you dreamed of my spouse. When the time was right you shaped his soul and watched his life grow into what it is today. It is no accident that the two of us are together. Yet there are days when our togetherness is challenged by our differences. Help me to accept what you have given me. Help me to rejoice in our differences, rather than merely tolerating them. Forgive me for the many times I have been less than respectful—those times I have not paid proper attention or have not acted upon my spouse’s words and ways which were different than my own. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The next time you have an argument with your spouse, ask yourself, “Is this really about preferences?” Then try to see the issue from your spouse’s perspective. you might even try it their way.