Conditional Watering

Previously we talked about our spouse being like a plant.  We each have the ability to properly “water” our spouse so that they can flourish.  We need to actively grow in our understanding of what unique needs our spouse has so that we can meet those needs.  We have been given the unique responsibility to provide for the nurturing of our spouse and therefore you must look every day at what you can do to help your spouse grow and mature, even if it means putting aside your own needs.

What if you withhold the “watering” that your spouse needs?  What if you are waiting on your spouse to “water” you first?  What if you adopt the attitude, “My needs aren’t being met.  Why should I pay attention to your needs when you aren’t paying attention to mine?”

This is what I call “Conditional Watering”.  In other words, I’ll only pay attention to your needs “IF” you first pay attention to mine.

Does this kind of selfish standoff ever work?  Doesn’t this reduce the relationship to a kind of blackmail:  I’ll give you what you want only if and when I get what I want?  That doesn’t sound like a foundation on which to build a soul mate relationship.

Why is it important to adopt the principle of unconditional love?  Think that through for a minute.  If we give to our spouse only if and when they give first to us, then we are telling our spouse that I’m only willing to give to you “IF” you give to me.  That’s not love.

That’s similar to a business contract.  I’ll give you some money if you give me a widget that I want.  No money, no widget.  Relationships do not work best in a contractual environment, because a contract is by nature self-seeking and self-protecting.  I’ll only give if I get something back.

We all want to be loved unconditionally, not because we do something, but because of who we are.  Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrated His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  God acted in love, not out of contractual obligation.  Moreover, God acted in love when we were utterly undeserving!   Our relationship with our spouse will grow and flourish if we begin by modeling that kind of selfless love to our spouse.  Husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the church.  They are commanded to love unconditionally, to love “no matter what!”  Just as God did.

In Luke 6:38 we are told, “Give and it will be given to you.”  The context of this verse is dealing with money, but I feel that the principle of “giving first” applies here as well.  We are to consider the needs of others first.  In the context of selfless serving we can create a foundation for a relationship that will last for years, grow in quality, and be the place where we experience unconditional love.  It’s not “I love you if,” but rather “I love you no matter what.”

Water often and always be willing to water first.

One thought on “Conditional Watering

  1. That. Is. So. Hard.

    Trying to consistently serve first and without expectation of reciprocation is enough to make humble even the most egotistical person. It simply cannot be done without God’s help. One of the things that often sends me back toward God is realizing that I’ve been holding back love until I get some sent my way.