One of the benefits of marriage and the deep emotional intimacy that accompanies it is that our spouse, in a loving and supportive environment, may be able to surface and challenge ideas that we hold. Often we may not even realize that we are clinging to these deep set thoughts or how much they are shaping our worldview until we are questioned and prodded and challenged to explain our way of thinking.
One night not that long ago my husband and I had a long and lively discussion on competition. I am very competitive, always striving to be the best at things that are important to me. After much discussion he helped me reach the conclusion that my striving is directed toward receiving a particular kind of favor from God. Not salvation mind you, but love. (I’ve always been quite suspect of Christians who are obsessed with heaven and salvation. We should love and obey God because he is God, not because there is a cookie in it for us via the afterlife.) Love is what I strive for – I’d certainly willingly trade eternal salvation for God’s love instead if it came down to an either/or. I have a deep set hope that if I can win my self-organized competitions (in which others are usually not even aware they are enrolled) then God will look upon me with love and pleasure instead of regret. We cannot earn salvation; the bible is clear. We fall short of the standard of sinlessness to reconcile with justice. We must depend on God’s grace for salvation. But can we earn love since love is not about justice? I seem to want to try.