"Love does not demand its own way." 1 Cor. 13:5

In Part 1, we discussed the conflict of dwelling on our “face and form” vs. “reality is from the neck up” in our culture. God created marital intimacy as a precious representation of the union in the Trinity, and the depths of His desire for us. How do we love selflessly from the “neck up” and also give our marriage a passion spark?

Loving selflessly in our culture involves falling in love with the neck up.   Realize that you fell in love with a unique person.  Psalm 139:14 thanks God “for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it.” How do you show your uniqueness to yourself and to your partner?  I recommend a quick survey in Strong Marriages,, called the Connect Assessment developed by John Trent Ph.D.  Take the assessment and find out about your uniqueness and how you relate to others. 

The Connect Assessment lays out four different personality strengths: leaders, like a lion: relators, like a golden retriever: organizers, like a beaver: or the life of the party, like an otter. We usually have a primary talent that guides most of how we communicate and a secondary talent that works in the background.  After you both take the assessment, have a date and answer the following questions:

How do you see your true personality being displayed in your marriage? If it flourishes and is accepted by you and your partner - you are loved from the “neck up.”

Do you see your personality being squashed because of your role or just ignorance? Then it is time to affirm your Psalm 139:14 uniqueness. 

Trade assessments now and take turns reading your partner’s connecting talents. Verbally affirm each trait of his or her talents with some emotion.  For example, “Dear wife your fun loving laugh makes our home a happy place.  Thank you.” Or “You are prettiest Mrs. Otter I know.”  Let’s dive in and get to know our partners better.

Dwell on the fact that God made each of us unique. Rejoice! Affirm their lion, golden retriever, beaver or otter. This gives our marriages a face-lift that also blesses the passion of our marriages.                     

Posted by Steve Sague with


Passage: Job 36:13-33


Who but a master physician could use crushing blows to mend wounds? Who but a master shepherd could nurture a flock by leading them through valleys? This aspect of God’s nature—His ability to lead us to blessed destinations by cursed roads—is one of the greatest evidences of His perfect wisdom. This strategy is absolutely upside-down… but is also unmistakably supernatural.

In moments of trial, our response is often to put God on trial. Our flesh tells us to see the character of God through our situation, rather than the other way around. What good God would give someone a prodigal child or an unpayable bill, or would allow past sins to be exposed? When God’s idea of provision and guidance differs from ours, we demand to know just who God thinks He is.

By chapter 36, Job is walking the line of accusation. Amidst the reality of his God-ordained suffering, Job’s forgotten that God delights in bringing light through darkness, healing through brokenness, and renewal through loss. While Job initially refuses to curse God (1:20-22; 2:10), he eventually succumbs to his grief and invites the Judge of all judges into his own courtroom (9:19-20, 32-33). How often do we extend this same angry invitation?

But in chapter 36, Elihu declares that God uses affliction to save the afflicted (v. 15).

In the very circumstance Job wants to escape, God is painting a beautiful portrait of sovereignty. God’s glory shines brightest through impossible redemptions, and His wounding leads to fruit. Rather than escape, what is God seeking from those He tests? Elihu knows: Not anger, strength or a plan of resolution, but simply an honest prayer for help (v. 13). After all, God would rather we process our pain with Him than apart from Him.

It is in dwelling on God’s perfect story-telling abilities (v. 22-25) that we find the faith to endure, so that we might reap the growth and blessing intended in our hardship.

How is God testing you? Are you postured to learn, or poised to accuse? Rather than responding in anger, cry out to Him. He longs to demonstrate His steadfast love in unexpected ways.

Posted by Luke McMeans with

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