52 Week Plan: Acceptance
Many of us have a tough time separating acceptance of a person from not accepting the person’s behavior. Of course…it is easy to accept – have a positive, favorable response to – a person when his/her behavior is what we’d hoped. But, what do we do to show our spouse that we are “for” him/her even when they fail or disappoint us in some way. What if our opinions differ widely on a subject? If you and your spouse have no differences of opinion or of responses, you are unique.
Could we learn to allow the love of God to move us to love our spouse in spite of differences and talk about those differences without “losing it”? Or do we feel that our spouse is trying to parent us to become the person they want?
Be intentional about setting aside a few minutes this week or planning a date night to discuss Acceptance in your marriage together.
Husband, would you lead this time by reviewing the statements to be completed or questions being asked so that you know how to make the most of your time? When you are ready, please initiate a “LOVE (Speak)” time with your wife.
As you use this tool – the 52-Week Plan – be sure to make a significant portion of the Marriage Staff Meetings fun and lighten things up a bit.
Having fun together is one reason we offer this tool for your communication and intimacy.
Thanks for joining us!
Helping Leaders Live Loved and Give Love Freely….Starting at Home!
Light Source #1: Fresh Encounter with Jesus Christ
Do you know anyone in scripture who, after encountering Jesus Christ, went away different than they were before? Would you list some of those people? Please choose the person from your list, who seemed to have the one you would have the most trouble accepting, then put that name on a piece of paper.
Answer this question: Are you any less deserving or any more deserving of Christ’s acceptance compared to the person you chose?
Please know that the answer to both questions is “no”!
Please think for a few minutes about your obvious shortcomings, failures, and differences that might make you feel that you are too “flawed” or “inconsistent” to be accepted by Christ or that you are just too “different” to make God’s list of acceptable people.
Picture Christ standing in front of you, looking into your eyes, and letting you know that He paid for all sins and loves you in spite of those shortcomings or flaws. This Jesus who is the “same yesterday, today, and forever” accepted Zachaeus, the woman caught in adultery, the Samaritan woman at the well, the centurion, Matthew the tax collector, the man born blind, the lepers no one else would touch, and on and on through history right down to you and me. He accepts you and me and invites us into His family. You belong in His family because He accepts you not because you deserve to be. Praise Him for it!
What if you do not know that you are accepted and forgiven? If you have never received Jesus’ offer of forgiveness, would you take Him at His word? After reading these or other scriptures you may already know, please quiet your heart and mind then simply receive God’s offer to you. He wants you in His forever family. Ask Him to forgive you and take you into His care for now and forever.
These scriptures may help you understand what I mean. John 1:12-14 and I John 1:9, Romans 1:16-17, I Corinthians 15:1-7
1. When you were a child, how did parents typically respond to you and your siblings when one of you “messed up”? How would you like for them to have responded? Did they know how to make you feel accepted even though you had failed or were different from what they expected you to be? Even if you needed some form of discipline, did you still know you were loved and accepted despite having to be reprimanded or corrected?
2. In what ways did you then and do you now feel that you are “different from others”? Even as a couple, how are you “different from other couples”? Do you feel accepted? Do you know couples, who are “different”? How well do you accept them ….? “as is”?
3. Let’s Do Matthew 10:40 better and better by making sure we welcome our spouse, receive him/her “as is” without making it our goal to change him/her. Identify your spouses “differences” and even their obvious “failures” to live up to your or others standards. Ask God to give you His heart for your spouse since He already receives him/her. Realize that in receiving your spouse “as is”, you are receiving Jesus, and the Father who sent Him to us. Maybe it would be a good idea to ask God to do any changing of your spouse that needs to happen. I am not saying that we ignore the shortcomings of our spouse. I am saying that we first speak to God and then, only if necessary, speak the truth in love to our spouse about any issue that we feel may cause a breach in the relationship.
In the next section “Light Source #3”, you will have a chance to discuss your acceptance of each other and to talk about the Bible character you chose as your “person most in need of acceptance” from Light Source #1 above.
Think It Through:
a. You Belong – Do You Know It?
b. Your Spouse Belongs – Does He/She Know It?
c. Could God use you to help your spouse know he/she is loved…”warts and all”? How?
Light Source #3: Other Jesus Followers – Have Real Fellowship with Your Spouse
Having this type of discussion may sound like a foreign language at first…because “rejoicing with those who rejoice” and “mourning with those who mourn” may be foreign to your experience.
Help your spouse know he/she is accepted – Ask, Listen, and then Respond with Acceptance.
4a. The Question: (Please ask your spouse) -Would you tell me something that happened recently that made you feel happy, special, or fulfilled?
As your spouse answers the question, be ready to respond to “rejoice with those who rejoice”. Romans 12:15a
You might say something like this: “I am so glad that happened to you and am excited to celebrate with you.”
4b. The Question: (Please ask your spouse) – Would you tell me something that happened recently that made you feel sad, disappointed, alone, or rejected?
As your spouse answers the question, be ready to “mourn with those who mourn”. Romans 12:15b
Mourning with our spouse leads us to respond similarly to the following: “It hurts me to see you so sad or to know you feel rejected. I love you and want to make sure you know that I do.”
5. Would you discuss the answers to the questions #1, #2, #3 above and continue to “know each other” and let your spouse “know you more deeply”? Would you discuss your “person who needed acceptance most” from Light Source #1. Why did that person hit your heart or head as the most in need? Is there any identification with your own situation or pain?