There are words spoken in anger of such impact that they can never be completely taken back. Such words cause permanent damage to relationships and hang around for years like dark clouds. One never has absolute license to say hurtful things where the primary purpose is to severely injure another’s soul. We own the things we do and say.
I sincerely believe eventually we will suffer and regret the cost and consequences of our hateful and angry words. Controlling anger includes tempering our words appropriately especially with those we love and hold dear. Rage ful words hurled at someone can do irreparable damage. Like we would resist throwing a dagger at a loved one, we should stifle every urge to lash out with a hateful remark.
I love the old country classic made famous by Conway Twitty entitled “This Time I Hurt Her More Than She Loves Me.” Sadly I think every spouse at some point takes the affection of their mate for granted failing to recognize affections can eventually be destroyed by hateful words and dispicable actions. Forgiveness will not necessarily always be possible or available because once the degree of attachment is eroded sufficiently, the relationship collaspes under the weight of disrespect. No longer shielded by the blindness of love, the sad reality of who and what we are is exposed with shocking clarity.
The dearest soul in the world to me is my wife of 45 and counting years. When I speak to her, my speech reflects my love and admiration for her. I recognize the ongoing importance of being true and faithful to her as she is the most significant person in my universe. I am constantly aware of the need to be honest, true and faithful to our deep and sacred commitment to each another.
My wife is a kind and forgiving person but I’m cognizant that her devoted love and affection is conditional in the sense that her love needs and rightfully expects my complete loyalty and affection in return. She respects herself and theregore rightfully expects others to respect her as well. As her spouse, I should be the shining example of love and respect for her at all times and in all places. Being true to this keeps romance alive and well in our relationship despite the fact the age unceremoniously takes its toll on us.
I’m aware that people complain about being especially afflicted by weakness or being prone to make repeated mistakes often as a result of unfavourable circumstances. But as a species we are pretty intelligent and can be reasonably expected to recognize situations that threaten our weakness. Having intimate knowledge of our weakness obligates us to take necessary evasive steps. One’s activities and routines need to be shaped for avoiding potential recurring disaster.
My heart ached recently for one close to me who was betrayed by someone she loved completely. I could not begin to fathom the disrespect inherent in his repeated acts of infidelity and these coming after previous acts of betrayal had been divulged and through process painfully forgiven. Being the old man that I am, the arrival of such bad news caused tears to come to my eyes. I shared momentarily in the very real heart ache his actions caused and the destruction yet to follow. I considered the grave consequences of children never feeling the security and joy of being raised together with their parents united. Their young lives to be forever complicated and compromised by the competing interests of two very separate entities.
I am grateful for the love of my wife. It did not come easily. I had to earn it because she was a girl who captured the interest of a lot of guys and had the benefit of choice. Perhaps that’s why I am so deeply committed to her and to our relationship. She is by far the most important and significant person in my world.
I have among those dear to me loved ones who were faithful and true to their spouses but eventually betrayed by infedelity and desertion by their partners. I witnessed the level of their despair and saw them spiral into various states of desperate depression. But in every case I have seem them recover and eventually thrive. In almost all cases, love was found anew with someone new and deserving and their happiness ultimately restored.
Once love is extinguished it is very rare to rekindle it with the same person. While there may be forgiveness, there is also a realization that trust is now an issue. Once weakness is exposed and when it’s later repeated, our survival instincts kick in. No organ is perhaps more important for our wellbeing than our heart. Hearts learn to protect themselves after repeated injury.
It’s not impossible to rekindle love. When my mother divorced my father, it was after years of putting up with abusive behaviours. Fortunately there was no physical abuse but there was a level of cruelty fueled by an addiction to alchohol. When they divorced, we children sighed a sigh of relief because we knew too well the grief involved with them being together. We were certainly surprised when a few years later, they did remarry after my father finally stopped drinking. They salvaged late in life a pretty good stretch of marriage after previously suffering through decades of disfunctuon. I’m happy that miracle happened to them but it’s not one we see repeated often.
Cherish your marriage relationship. Treat everyone respectfully but always put the needs of your wife and family ahead of all others. Show your appreciation constantly and take every opportunity to express your love in both word and deed. Recognize that marriages are not indestructible. Marriages are currently at best a fifty fifty proposition.
Treat your marriage like a garden in need of tending. Anticipate threats to your relationship and take steps to ensure its safety. You have no other allegiance or duty that should ever displace your spouse and family as your first priority and as deserving of your love, time, resources and devotion. The rewards of a successful marriage are incredible and long lasting. Durability is always an issue and is dependent on the level and consistency of our devotion to it.
Like a devoted gardener, we need to keep the weeds of discontent out of our garden of marriage. They will choke and stress our relationship and increasingly threaten it with extinction.We need to ensure thirst gets quenched by showering it with loving attention. We need to constantly watch out for disease and pestilence ce that can potentially attack and destroy. We need the ensure the fertility of the soil and ground ourselves in an rich environment that serves to strengthen the foundation of strong roots.
We live in a world where it’s become almost cool to be cruel. In some quarters, the veracity of love is mocked. The quest for true love has been replaced by the hunt for sex. I don’t like the world we have become where greed is not condemned but rather the subject of admiration. I long for simpler days where there was a lot more caring and innocence. Where once people had sufficient for their needs they considered ways of sharing with those less fortunate. Honesty is no longer linked to integrity but rather it’s about seeing how dishonest you can be without being caught by the system. Bullying is prevalent everywhere and not just in our schools.
Along with the increasing downward slide of our society to an every man for himself environment, we see marriages crashing with increasing regularity. We need to search our souls for the remedy to what ills us and what to do about things that threaten our relationships. I suggest we all start by reading and rereading the sermon on the mount.