I love seeing the love between my niece and her husband. There is an intentionality, a sincere desire to build each other up.
I recently witnessed an exchange between them that came to mind as I read the “Love Chapter” today. They were in my kitchen putting together a lunch for them and the kids to take to the beach. I’m not sure what was being said but I heard my nephew say, “60. 40.” They both laughed and Elizabeth went over to him and gave him a hug.
I asked them what that was all about. They explained they were in a marriage class at their church and learned that 60% of the effort in their relationship was what they were to give to the other, gladly receiving a 40% return. You may be more familiar with this seminar than I, so I might not be explaining it exactly.
But I thought of that in regard to Paul’s letter. For those of you in a relationship (and those of you hoping to be), let me ask you this from I Corinthians 13:4-7:
Are you – or are you willing to be – 60% more patient with your spouse to their 40% of patiences shown you? Can you be 60% of the kindness factor in your home to their 40%?
Can you accept the 60/40 rule when it comes to not envying, not boasting, not being arrogant, rude, or self-seeking? What about the balance of irritability or keeping track of every little thing your spouse does wrong?
Verse 7 might be a killer for some of you. Can you expect more of yourself to “bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things” about your spouse? 60/40?
“Not fair,” you might say. “I want my marriage to be 50/50 all the way.” Honestly, I’m not sure how you measure that unless you keep track of every little thing. Do you give yourself a moment of meanness because they haven’t met their allotment of kindness?
I believe if you determine to give more, love more, do more for your spouse without expecting an equal return, you’ll be happier and so will they, and your relationship will be stronger and sweeter. At least that seems the case for Elizabeth and Seth.
Do you love your spouse, but expect them to love you more? Are you happy with that arrangement and fulfilled in your relationship? If not – and even if your relationship is good – I challenge you to read I Corinthians 13 and make it a pattern for your own 60/40.
Side note: if Jesus is our example, and if people will know we are His disciples if we love one another, 60/40 compared to his 99/1 is doable, don’t you think?