We’ve all heard Newton’s Third Law, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When I bounce a ball, the force of the ball on the ground causes a reaction, and the ball bounces back. When I shoot a gun, the gun kicks back. It’s a principle of physics we know and understand . . . there’s countless examples from our daily lives.
But this principle falls short in the context of our messy human relationships. We all know this is true, but we’re still often disappointed when our words or actions don’t lead to an equal reaction.
Some recent conversations have helped remind me that in our marriages, we’re only responsible for our actions, not the reactions of our wives. During our month on prayer, the tone of my mentoring group changed when we discussed praying with our wives. I heard things like, “I don’t think she would like it,” and “I don’t want her to think I’m talking about her.” Did you catch the shift? They were more concerned with how their wives would respond, than with the act of prayer itself. Next month, when I ask my mentees to write a love note to their wives, instead of trusting that there is no downside to writing the note, I know I will hear things like, “well, she is going to know I’m doing this because of my mentoring group.”
Too often, we don’t risk taking action, because we’re unsure or afraid of what the reaction might be. So instead, we sit back and hope for the best. But loving our wives as Christ loved the church is not passive.
In his book Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage, Mark Gungor says it this way, “A successful marriage is not the result of marrying the ‘right’ person, feeling the ‘right’ emotions, thinking the ‘right’ thoughts, or even praying the ‘right’ prayers. It’s about doing the ‘right’ things—period.”
Doing the right thing is risky . . . but isn’t your marriage worth the risk? I certainly believe it is.
Scripture: Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? (Ecclesiastes 4:9-11)