Where's Your Plimsoll Mark?

Description

Part of compassionately loving your spouse is making sure you keep an eye on his or her "Plimsoll mark:' That's the mark that appears—or disap­pears—when the burdens of life are heavy.

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one
another. Ephesians 4:32

In 1876 the British government, at the urging of Samuel Plimsoll, passed a law requiring ships to bear a visible mark above the waterline to make sure the ship wasn't loaded with excessive cargo. When the so-called "Plimsoll mark" went below the waterline, the ship was car­rying too much cargo and some of it had to be removed.

Part of compassionately loving your spouse is making sure you keep an eye on his or her "Plimsoll mark:' That's the mark that appears—or disap­pears—when the burdens of life have pushed your husband or wife below his or her own physical, emo­tional, and spiritual waterlines. When you see that happening—and in time you will certainly learn to identify that mark in your spouse—you will need to ask a few important questions: Is my spouse's "load" too heavy at this time? Can I do anything to lighten the load? What worries, concerns, or burdens can we toss overboard to get his or her "Plimsoll mark" back above the waterline?

Real love means looking out for our spouses before we look out for ourselves. So the next time you meet your spouse at the doorway after a long day, check that "Plimsoll mark:' Then think about how you can help lighten the load by either eliminating it or taking some of it on yourself.

Being kind and tenderhearted toward your spouse begins with such simple things as noticing when he or she is on overload, then taking initia­tive to express interest and care for burdens he or she carries. Finally comes the challenge to now fulfill the "law of Christ," the law of love, by " {bearing] one another's burdens" (Galatians 6:2).

Which of the burdens your spouse carries today can you take on yourself or eliminate altogether?

God, help us be compassionate about the burdens we each bear and help us stay afloat when life is stormy.

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