Do you ever meet a couple that seems mismatched? Maybe they’ve been married for 15 or 20 years but something just doesn’t seem to fit. How could a couple with a woman that smart and a man that daft stay together for so long? How is it possible that someone so driven and organized could endure someone so listless and free-spirited? What is it that holds together a relationship that seems built on a foundation of contradictions. She’s a little bit country. He’s a little bit rock and roll. She likes long walks in the park. He likes good seats at Fenway Park.
I think ‘good for; good to’ is part of the answer. I love to talk with couples about what brought them and keeps them together. There’s all the standard comments: Love, respect, communication, patience, an occasional knock on the head with a frying pan. But sometimes they cut through the usual list of responses and say something truly interesting.
“She’s good for me.” I heard one friend say. “Before I met her I was a knucklehead. Today, I’m a recovering knucklehead with occasional relapses.” We had a good laugh. I thought I’d get in a friendly jab, “That explains why you’re with her. Why does she stick with you!?”
He got serious for a moment and didn’t miss a beat, “She’s good for me. I try to be good to her. It just works.”
Ephesians 5:22-33 gives us a brief snapshot of how to have a healthy, happy, even holy marriage. It could be summed up in this one principle: “Mutual submission out of mutual respect.”
It could be said as a series of questions:
- Will you be good for or good to your spouse today?
- Will you look out for their interests and their needs before your own?
- Will you give more of yourself to them than you think you can afford and trust God to provide? (A good definition of sacrifice.)
- Will you be willing to repent when you’re wrong and forgive when you’re right?
- Will you value your relationship more than your own rights or opinions?
How we answer questions like these determines whether or not those mismatched couples will go the distance.
Good for | Good to – which are you?