Last month when I was getting a massage, the massage therapist made an offhanded comment about the difference between my muscular legs and my muscle-free arms. As I was not in any position to respond with a clever rebuttal, I mentally made a note to reduce his tip 😊. But, his comment started me thinking. Had I neglected my arms? I did attend a body sculpting/weight lifting class, once or twice a week. You know the kind … just for women. You pick up the smallest weight you can find and do rhythmic exercises while you sing along to music. I love that kind of class! It was taxing, but it allowed for friendly chit chat. Well, I hadn’t been in a while...I guess a long while!
So at my next visit to the gym, I decided to work in some upper body. I had just completed 30 minutes on the bike and 30 on the elliptical, so I was a tad pooped as I made my way to the weight section of the gym. Not the free weights section – that place is very intimidating and smells weird. And, the clanging of random weights makes me jumpy! Anyway, I went to the first weight machine – the “overhead press.” You know the one. Press your back into the seat rest and push the handles straight over your head. When I sat down, the weight was set at 50 pounds. “Try it,” I said to myself. What could it hurt? Besides, maybe that masseuse was wrong! So, I grunted and attempted to lift, but nothing happened. I mean nothing. No movement at all. I then moved the pin down to 30 pounds and tried again. Same disappointing result. The only weight choice left was 15 pounds, so I looked around to make sure no one was watching and moved the pin down one last time. Again I grunted, and again I couldn’t get the darn arm press to move! “This cannot be a true measure of my arm strength,” I said to myself. Surely this machine is broken! I then grabbed my water bottle up off the floor, lifting it easily I might add, and marched to the first gym employee I could find. I said to him, “Come with me, one of your machines is broken.” He immediately followed and sat down at the very same machine that had just failed me. He set the machine at 70 pounds and up and down it went. “Show off,” I thought. He looked over at me as if to say, “Huh?” I responded to his condescending look with a request that he go down in weight. Perhaps the machine didn’t work at 50 pounds and less; you know, maybe just the smaller weights were broken. He smiled, set the weight at 30 pounds and lifted away. I then made some comment about a “small gym miracle” and quickly and quietly gathered my things and left.
Ugh! The massage therapist was right – I had seriously neglected my arms. I was a weakling! What had happened to me? How had I let this happen? I then resolved to regain my upper body strength or die trying. Keep reading … I promise I’m going somewhere with this story 😊.
How many times do we do this very same thing in our marriage relationship? We neglect our spouse and then wonder what happened when we find our marriage in the ditch. As an example, if I pursue work as my priority for a few weeks, months or years and then want to have an intimate conversation with my long-suffering spouse, I may find that both of us are unable to do the heavy emotional lifting. There is truth in the saying, “Use it or lose it!” If you don’t continue to pursue your spouse in thought, word and deed, you may begin to fall into the, “Where has the love gone?” trap. When you do the actions of love, emotions follow. When you stop doing those actions, the emotions may run low or stop all together. Don’t neglect your spouse.
How do you know if you have neglected your spouse? Ask your spouse. He or she will tell you. Beware, seriously neglected spouses sometimes grow quiet and may no longer have any fight left – it has been “ignored” out of them. They may have adapted to the absence of relationship and replaced it with a new “normal” – a disconnected life. I call this, “Roommate Life.” DANGEROUS SITUATION!! If you and your spouse don’t ever have intense emotions with each other, loving or otherwise, get back to lifting those relationship weights. Don't settle with co-existence. If you don’t make changes, some robust person will sneak in and carry away your spouse’s heart. Ambivalence, or being lukewarm in your marriage, is the final warning before the end of the relationship. This is true for Christian and non-Christian marriages alike. Keep the fire going! Work at your marriage relationship. Talk openly to your spouse about your feelings and do not take your spouse for granted. Also, keep your marriage on the top of your prayer list!
I also can’t help but take this topic of neglect one step further – an eternal and forever important step! The other relationship you can neglect is the one with your Heavenly Father. I find this especially true for people drowning in sin. The ill-fated thought is this: “When I get my life cleaned up, I will go back to God and resume fellowship.” If you think that you can do this on your own and if you rationalize that when you are again worthy you can approach the throne of God, you are wrong! Sweet readers, we can never be worthy. We must approach our Father reverently each and every hour of the day. We must continue to bathe ourselves in His word so that we can be sustained by it. We must revel in the grace that He so freely gives us in His son, Jesus Christ! And much like I found myself at the silly arm press machine, we are but a spiritual weakling and can never do any spiritually heavy lifting if we never work out our faith and our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
This is where your relationship with your spouse can help! God designed marriage for just this sort of task. Your relationship with your spouse can be the perfect catalyst and accountability you need in dark days. Link arms with your spouse and chase after Jesus together. Read His word together, pray together, fellowship with other believers together, and serve the body of Christ together. Keep reading, friend. Satan desires to isolate you ruin your marriage, but God’s plan is to sanctify you and your spouse and bless your marriage! Pursue Him together and everything will fall into place. And please, please, do not neglect fellowship with other believers. Sisters and brothers- we need each other! We need the living, breathing, hold your hand when there is trouble, worship beside you, pray for you church in our lives everyday! (Hebrews 10:19-25)
Thanks for reading each week. Please leave me a comment. Don't be afraid- the comment will just last FOREVER on the internet!
Next week we have a special guest blogger in honor of February 14th, my wonderful husband and Valentine, Jody! Keep reading!
For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast. and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation? which having at first been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard; God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His will