Going The Extra Mile

As a new wife back in the 80’s, I remember a saying about marriage being 50/50. At the time, that saying made perfect sense. In other words, you bring half your effort into the marriage and I’ll bring half my effort into the marriage and somehow that will add up to a 100% awesome marriage.

Mathematically that may work. But I found that in relationships, it just doesn’t. I realized that the 50/50 equation was wrong in my first marriage. My husband had kidney disease and his kidney function was down to only about 5%. We had some decisions to make. He could go on dialysis and be put on a waiting list for a new kidney – which could take years – or he could go ahead and take one of my kidneys. There was not a 50% option. I was either 100% willing to donate a kidney or not. My husband didn’t live long enough for me to donate him a kidney … but God tenderly showed me that I gave 100%. I was willing to be cut open and give an internal organ to benefit my husband … willing to go the distance.

In your family, you are going to have to give 100% – go the distance. I’m not saying that this will be easy. I’m not going to tell you that the benefits will pay off in a year or two. You need to adjust your mindset to know that it takes about 7-9 years for a couple to start feeling married. That’s a long time. What so many couples do is give up after the first few hard years.

I wish I could just encourage each couple that is ready to call it quits to just hang in there. Seek counseling. Find another couple that is willing to walk along side you and your husband in your marriage. Be open. Be honest. Go all the way – all 100%.

This same principle applies to your children. My husband was really trying to be a father figure to my daughter, but she was not interested in the least. Day after day, Dan grew weary of reaching out to her. One evening, I was getting ready to go tell the kids goodnight and I asked him if he was going to come with me. He told me that it was useless. After a year and a half, he said that he had repeatedly reached out to her half-way and she never reached back out to him. At that moment, I told him that as the adult, he was responsible for going 100% – to show her that he was willing to keep trying – to be there for her even though she showed him rejection.

This struck a nerve with him and so he reached out again to her… that night was different. He went with me to her bedroom and stood at the doorway and asked her about her day. He inquired about what she was studying. He made positive statements to her and then he did something funny … he reached out to her in humor – mimicking her little squirrel voice that she used at times. It was the beginning… it was 100% from Dan… right to her heart. There were hugs … and I’m sure I probably cried. That relationship is wonderful now… caring, concerned and loving.

Because of going 100%, my daughter has a wonderful father figure. My husband has added a daughter that brings lots of joy. I have the benefit of a whole, healthy family.

2 Corinthians 9:6 says, “Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”

Have you really given all you can give to your family? Have you continued to reach out to a step child that either can’t or doesn’t know how to reach back to you? Have you decided that your husband is worth every ounce of effort that it will take to have a successful marriage? I am begging for you to go all the way – go the distance. Sow generously. As someone who has hung in there … I’m telling you that the harvest is bountiful and beautiful.

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