It seems to me that there’s a certain age that we reach when we discover music, usually popular music. For me it’s way back to the glory days of Motown, and the start of the Beatles. I would listen to CKLW (the Canadian station, which played all the popular music for those of us who lived in the Detroit area) on my transistor radio while out on the patio during the summer. The music engrossed me, it became part of my life experience. While in my bedroom, I would play my 45 records on my record player and sing my heart out along with groups the likes of the Supremes.
I watched this very same experience take place when my son was around the age of 11 or 12. He sang along with the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC (Justin Timberlake’s group), Brittany Spears, and the like. I can see him with heartfelt intensity singing away in his bedroom, pouring his expressions and feelings into those songs. For weeks at a time I would hear him sing along with the Backstreet Boys, “You are my fire, the one desire, believe when I say, I want it that way… tell me why, ain’t nothin’ but a heartache…” Those songs, especially the ones of high emotion, engrossed him just as much as the songs of my day engrossed me. And, for a while the phrase “Oops, I did it again,” as sung by Brittany Spears, was often repeated in our household. Not in the manner that the lyrics of the song convey, not in making someone else believe that you were in love with them when you’re not, but in the manner of oops, I did something that I didn’t mean/want to do.
We all have oops in our lives. Those times when try as we might, we end up doing the very thing that we don’t want to do. And, while I would like to believe that at my age, with my experiences, that I am beyond doing things that are contrary to my ideal code of behavior, that is simply not the case. Just the other day, I experienced another “oops, I did it again!” I got upset over something between my husband and myself, and while I would have preferred to calmly, and nicely, talk the situation over with him, I went the exact opposite way. I unleashed some rather harsh sounding sentiments letting my frustrations and emotions take control – thereby disrespecting and wounding the love of my life. Upon calming down, I felt immense sorrow over those actions. Tears stung in my eyes as I contritely apologized to him for letting my emotions get the better of me. My husband and I are a team, we’ve pledged to love each other for the remainder of our lives, we’ve become one, and as such we should act that way towards each other. I don’t like it when he gets frustrated and takes it out on me, so why should I behave that way towards him? Neither of us has the right to take advantage of the other. In a world that so easily dishes out hurt and malice towards us, our marriage should be a safe place for both of us.
I hope that this particular incident stays firmly lodged in the back of my mind as a prime example of just how easily and quickly I can be diverted from thinking and acting the way that Paul describes in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8, ESV) I must take those thoughts of Paul captive, I must internalize them so that they become part of the very core of me. I must always remember that my husband is not my enemy – Satan is. And as such, Satan delights on tearing down those things that God has deemed good and honorable – like marriage. The enemy uses those things like doubt, and emotions to quickly send us into a spiral and unleash harsh sentiments on our partner, thereby attempting to crumble the foundation of our marriages. My marriage is built on the love of Christ, we recognize that the love that we feel for one another is something to celebrate. And, when we keep the knowledge that we are a team, meant to encourage, and support one another in the forefront of our minds, we will notice that deep down our loving partner’s intentions are indeed true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, and praiseworthy.
Wise words Paul, wise indeed.