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Understanding "The Mystery"

Some of the most common experiences in life are still full of wonder. Husbands and wives often wonder to themselves about their partner by thinking (or saying!), “What in the world is wrong with you? How could you possibly do that...think that...say that?”

Early in our lives when we are planning for marriage we all wonder what life will be like. We may wonder about the future and our children. We may wonder about the later years and how it will be to grow old together. And it is a sad fact that lots of couples will come to wonder, “How on earth did I ever get myself into this mess?”

In Ephesians 5, Paul spoke about the process of men and women leaving the families they grew up in and choosing to become married and said it was a great mystery (v. 31-32). It is amazing that men and women are so different in so many ways. It is amazing that we get together so easily and yet find staying together so challenging. But a good marriage does not have to be a mystery.

Much of what makes the early stages of coupling so easy is fairly simple. We focus our interest on THEM. We watch them intently. We seek out ways to bring them pleasure or happiness. We long for their company and companionship. Those actions are almost irresistible to other people. Most of us really do have a hunger inside, expressed clearly by the words of a zany song written by Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen, “I want you to want me! I need you to need me! I’d love you to love me!”

That’s it! Here’s the mystery explained. When we feel that people love us, want us and appreciate us, we will usually feel the same way and are drawn toward them. Conversely, when we feel unloved, unwanted and unappreciated we often relect that back toward others also and push them away or ourselves away from them.

If you want to be loved, be more loving. If you want to be appreciated, be more appreciative. If you want to be treated with kindness and compassion, treat others with kindness and compassion. The simple words of Luke 6:31 (NAS) say, “”Treat others the same way you want them to treat you." It’s amazing that some of the most complicated things in our lives can be improved by such simple changes. Maybe that’s why we call those words the golden rule.

- Tim Orbison


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