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The two great responses – part 3

The big idea in marriage is that “the two become one.” It is one of the strongest expressions of unity that is demonstrated in this world.  It is obvious the world struggles with marriage as evidenced by all the counseling, laws, and interventions often needed when things are not working out.  

At the heart of the struggle in a marriage is selfishness. Bluntly put, I still want my own way. In Jesus’ two great responses, He challenges us to a selfless focus. Invest all of who we are in God and in the people we love.

Early in our marriage, my wife, Bev, let me know I was constantly late to commitments with her and our family. My immediate response was, “No I’m not.” with my second level response being, “What I was doing was important and couldn’t be put off.” My responses revealed everything…

My agendas were more important than my commitments to Bev and our family. Yes, I loved Bev. Yes, I loved the kids. Yes, I would presume upon them all the time to adjust to what I perceived to be the most important to me at that moment. I was selfish.

To get my attention, Bev came up with a plan: “For 30 days, every time you are late to a family commitment, you pay me $5. Every time you are on time, I pay you $5.” I took the challenge, believing I would prove her wrong.  

Thirty days later… Ed paid Bev $340. Bev paid Ed $10. You do the math! Boy, did I show her… NOT!!!

Bev’s simple act of creativity was one of the many acts of love that have helped me lean away from my selfishness and lean into a selfless love where “the two become one.”  

Sometimes, it is easy to take important words and apply them to everyone else. The real opportunity in my marriage is when Bev and I love God with all we’ve got, and love each other as ourselves. 

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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