By Lavern & Ronda Nissley, Tuesday@10:10 blog
The Supreme Court's decision to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states last Friday is definitely a difference maker. It has one segment of citizens celebrating and another segment concerned. We have friends and relatives in both groups.
If you are a supporter of gay marriage
We understand your motivation to celebrate the right to marry for all US citizens as an individual freedom. The movement for making same sex marriages nationally accessible has been long and hard fought. However, as many heterosexual married couples have discovered, marriage in itself does not bring happiness or love. It is hard work and requires incredible sacrifice, patience and forgiveness to go the distance. By nature we human beings are selfish and tend to look out primarily for our own interests.
If you are a supporter of traditional marriage
We understand your apprehension about how believing in a male-female definition of marriage might be penalized. Likely there will be social and financial risks in living out those convictions. However, there is no law against investing in your own marriage and the marriages of those around you. To be honest, the track record for male-female marriages is not good; there is a LOT of room for growth! By nature we human beings are selfish and tend to look out primarily for our own interests.
If you are a human being (quite likely!)
So, what is the remedy for human selfishness? Can it be cured externally by legislation or court rulings? Or by attending a class or workshop? We don't think so.
As Christians we appreciate the remedy for our selfishness as demonstrated through an incredible act of selflessness by our Leader and Forgiver, Jesus Christ. We have chosen His path of humility by trying to respect and serve others, even when it's challenging. (See Philippians 2:1-11)
Rather than responding with escalation, invalidation, negative interpretation or withdrawal (from PREP Educational Products), we can choose respectful listening and loving assertiveness. This takes courage and character, traits not generated by external decrees, but by internal maturity.
The surviving relatives of the June 17, 2015 Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina shooting epitomized a set of virtues more powerful and transforming than any government ruling or legislation: forgiveness, mercy and goodwill.
Would that more of us could rise above our human selfishness to make such a true difference. We are still "in development", but would love to chat if that is a journey you are on or pursuing.
Lavern and Ronda are co-directors of the Marriage Resource Center of Miami Valley, Springfield, Ohio.
Images courtesy of Salvatore Vuono, Stuart Miles and David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A weekly post on Tuesdays at 10:10 am that addresses some topic associated with relationship and marriage health. Don't miss it!
Main author is Lavern Nissley, Executive Director of MRCMV. Guest authors will be included in posts from time to time.