Are You Free to Trust?

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What can you do today to let your spouse know that you love him or her unconditionally?

Blessed be the . . . God of all comfort, who comforts us.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Troy's earliest memories were of acting silly to gain his drunken dad's atten­tion. Ann's parents both worked, so she had felt neglected. She tearfully described feeling closer to her housekeeper than to either parent. Neither Troy nor Ann had really learned how to trust.

Instead, both had become performers so that they could gain approval and acceptance. Their perfor­mance journey had made them both successful but emotionally distant.

Sadly, Troy and Ann weren't unusual in how they sought acceptance and love. Many people set out to "earn" love and approval through perform­ing. A child might seek attention in a positive way by excelling in academics or athletics, or in a negative way through disrup­tive behavior. A spouse who feels neglected or rejected may try to gain acceptance through increased activity and self-improvement programs, or by complaining, blaming, and acting out. In each case, the message is the same: "Notice me! I'm important!"

Troy's childhood embarrassment and Ann's childhood neglect brought them years of understandable sadness, loneliness, and pain. Could they trust anyone to care about such pain? It was liberating and touching to see them contemplate the possibility that the God of all comfort was sad­dened, hurt, and moved with compassion over their pain. They began to express gratitude in prayer, thanking Him for caring. Their ability to trust was being established. Next, God would involve them in a ministry of giving His comfort to one another.

As Ann and Troy grieved together and comforted each other, their trust was awakened as they found they had a caring God and a caring spouse.

What will you do today to give your spouse the assurance that you truly and unconditionally care for him or her?

0 God, help us to share our pain and to comfort one another amid it.

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