Our heart requires special attention!
February is healthy heart month. Many of us are aware of the many risk factors that can contribute to heart disease. Early detection, management and treatment is of greatest importance when it comes to healthy heart function.
When the normal function of the heart is impeded, the entire body is in grave danger of a serious health crisis.
It is then appropriate that February is also the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day. It is all about the heart expressing and professing romantic love! Many of us look forward to this day with nervous excitement and anticipation, when special attention and gifts of love are received from our beloved.
Still it is likely we may be in need of a heart check-up. Just as the normal physical function of our heart can be affected by certain risk factors, our heart’s capacity to love our spouse well can also be impeded. Negative emotions and ugly conditions periodically invades the heart and, when not dealt with, can tarnish our love for each other. This can eventually lead to some serious marital crisis. Sometimes what may seem the tiniest bit insignificant now, can slowly build up like plaque, leading to our heart not been able to love our spouse well.
No wonder Solomon admonished us in Proverbs 4:23, that
“Above all else, guard your heat, for everything you do flows from it.”
He obviously knew that even though the heart has a great capacity to love, it is also desperately wicked. And so, we need to be mindful of what we allow to reside in our heart. In our marriage, we ought to make every effort to ensure that our actions, words and choices serve to send a message of love to our beloved.
4 Things that can interfere with our heart loving well
It does not take much sometimes for us to hold a grudge. Whether from words spoken or an action taken against us, we can get upset and hurt. We harbor resentment in our heart and this often leads to us withdrawing from our spouse. Offense that is left alone to fester can become a deeper issue and lead to great pain. We need to recognize that we are going to hurt each other, its inevitable because we are human.
We deal with offense by giving the offense over to God in prayer and learn to forgive each other quickly.
“A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11
Unforgiveness is one of those negative emotional response that gives us a false sense of empowerment. When we have suffered wrong, we tend to withhold forgiveness because it makes us feel powerful. We feel in control and superior to our spouse but in reality, it is quite the opposite. Unforgiveness is a self-made prison in which we are taken captive and eaten alive. It hardens our heart and stifle our love for one another.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13
Forgiveness in our marriage is essential. It brings freedom and a fertile ground for love to flourish. For our marriage to be healthy we need to be able to receive and extend forgiveness. It is a gift we offer our spouse that in the end benefit each other.
We all get angry at some point or other. It’s normal. However, in its most negative state, anger can lead to negative actions and feelings. It isn’t necessarily expressed in words alone. Anger can also be seen in our withdrawal from each other. Anger that is not dealt with is dangerous in any relationship, but more so in our marriage. It clouds our judgement and hinders our ability to be rational. Unresolved anger blocks intimacy between us and our spouse.
“In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” Ephesians 4:26
We need to learn to deal with anger in a Christ-like way. In the face of conflict, we need to remain calm and think before responding. Our goal should be to seek a quick resolution to ensure anger does not take root in our heart. This allows us to maintain respectful communication between us and our spouse.
OPPOSITE SEX FRIENDSHIP
Yes, I can just about hear the pin drop with this one! This is, after all, a very controversial issue in many marital relationships. Some choose to believe there is no danger in having friends of the opposite sex. However, there are many things, as I have been mentioning above, that can mess up our marriage quickly and this is one of the most dangerous.
In our Christian community, as in any other community, we have to interact with members of the opposite sex. However, some interaction can start out innocent enough but can quickly take a wrong turn. No matter how strong we think we are, temptation is always lurking and can take us tumbling in a moment of unguarded vulnerability.
According to Focus on the Family,
“although there may be no clear answer, there are compelling reasons to be cautious about opposite-sex friendships outside of your spouse’s company. No matter how happy and secure your marriage, you should always protect your relationship against temptation, deception and potential affairs.”
Our marriage is a covenant that should be protected. Establishing boundaries is essential in protecting our marriage by maintain physical and emotional distance. Failing to do this creates distrust and destroys our integrity in the face of our spouse.
CREATE IN ME A CLEAN HEART
We all act in damaging ways towards each other because none of us are perfect. It takes humility for us to recognize our inability to love well. For our marriage to be healthy we need to resolve to have honest and open communication, thus making our marriage our number one priority. In the instances where we have wronged our spouse we need to seek both their forgiveness and God’s forgiveness. I believe seeking to establish and maintain a healthy heart in our marriage is worship unto God.
“Great marriages don’t happen by luck or by accident. They are the result of a consistent investment of time, thoughtfulness, forgiveness, affection, prayer, mutual respect, and a rock solid commitment between a husband and wife.” Dave Willis
So I am encouraging all of us dear friends, let us purpose to pay attention to the health of our heart. Let us purpose to love each other well as we journey by faith! God bless!