From the youngest of ages, I’ve enjoyed cooking. For me, it’s quite therapeutic to chop, dice, slice, filet, etc. But I confess, even though I’ve cooked hundreds of meals…
I don’t know the difference between a tablespoon and teaspoon.
Stupid huh? I literally watch Food Network on my iPad while I cook and I still have to google which one is “table” and which one is “tea” (just googled it again). When I do, I shake my head and tell myself, “I should have known that; it’s obvious.”
It may not be a huge deal to you, but measurements in cooking are meant to be accurate, especially in baking. And by using a wrong measurement, you can wind-up making something you didn’t intend on producing. Using a “tablespoon” of one element, when it was supposed to be a “teaspoon,” can change the flavor, adjust the consistency, or take what you’re trying to create in the wrong direction. I’ve either ruined many of recipes or didn’t get the fullness of dining experience because of inaccurate measurements.
Marriage is no different. I find that problems don’t come by a lack of measurement but the instrument for which we use to estimate and/or evaluate what we are facing. When you use inaccurate measurements, you can severely change the flavor (attitude, tone, and atmosphere) of your marriage, the consistency (integrity, connectedness, and unity) of it, and take what you are building (growing, learning, and maturing) into a wrong direction. Often I find husbands and wives fall prey to what has become the primary (and extremely inaccurate) human measurement device: comparison.
I’ve discovered that this internal measuring tape is used in two extremes. First, comparison takes our deficiencies and measures them against somebody’s highlight real. Perhaps you see another couple, possibly a best friend or even your parents, and used them to measure the quality and/or substance of your marriage. I’m not against having mentors. In fact, I encourage it. But there’s a difference between being looking upon to a marriage for the purpose of encouragement and challenge and looking up to a marriage to idolize someone’s life and inflicting your marriage with an ideal.
Secondly, comparison takes our perceived “strengths” and put them up against somebody else’s perceived “weaknesses” for the purpose to make ourselves feel better. This inaccurate measurement is steeped in pride. It’s meant to make you feel better in the moment but convinces you into thinking growth or change isn’t necessary because you are not “as bad as (enter someone’s name).”
Comparison is the seduction of our enough-ness. You either lose your feeling of being enough by what you lack in correlation to another couple or will you gain a sensation of being enough by contrasting what’s “right” with you to someone else’s perceived wrongness. Regardless, no matter how you play the comparison game, you lose. When you don’t find that you (and your spouse) are enough in Christ, you will place that demand upon someone or something that was not equipped to fulfill that.
The remedy is in the understanding of the uniqueness of your marriage. You’re less apt to compare when you cannot find a similar example. I find it’s easy to forget that both you and your spouse are, individually, made “wonderfully complex.” So if you as individual humans are complex, then the make up of each marriage is just as complex as man and woman come together. Again, this doesn’t mean you cannot have people to as mentors. It also doesn’t mean there are not principles to guide husbands and wives. But it does make you contextualize. Simply said: Look at your marriage, the season you are in, and how you and your spouse were created and gifted. When you can truly see what you are working with, you can build on Christ-centered principles to feed your marriage. Comparison does the opposite. You look at the “context” who other people are and what they have and try to enforce that upon the “context” for which the two of you live.
The fact is this: by human measurements, we’ll never be enough. When we think we’ve measured up, somebody will have moved the bar. Then we find ourselves constantly chasing things we were never meant to find our meaning in. Stop working for the validation that comes from an inaccurate assessment and hold onto the measurement that matters: You can have an identity found Jesus. It’s not only a place to live from but it’s an identity to work with. For if you can see how Jesus see’s you, you’ll be more apt to see your spouse how Christ sees him/her. Your life will display the image of the identity you live in.
Christ, then, becomes the place for which we can “measure” our lives. And the beauty of that challenge is not to necessarily show what we lack but to help us know what we possess AND how we can grow day by day. You’ll discover that type of “measurement” keeps you personally humble YET encourages you to pursue Jesus. I find the more I receive from Him, the more I’m able to give and serve my spouse. So in essence, my place of “measurement” is also the place of my “empowerment.”
Set down the comparison that has robbed you of joy. Trust that Jesus is enough. And when you find that “enough-ness” in Him, let your marriage draw from and grow into that.
Love you all. Praying for husbands and wives today as you two pursue Jesus and each other.
Thanks for letting me ramble…