Stop. Just Stahppppp…

“A soothing tongue [speaking words that build up and encourage] is a tree of life, But a perverse tongue [speaking words that overwhelm and depress] crushes the spirit” -Proverbs 15:4 (AMP).

Truth: I am a hope-full romantic. I don’t admit this to anyone so the fact I am confessing this publicly indicates “I mean business”. So it would be of no surprise why every time I see a healthy prosperous marriage, I compliment the wife about how encouraging it is to see a marriage centered in Christ. And you know the response I always get, “Thank you. It’s hard work.” Other times, people respond with, “Thank you, it’s not easy it takes effort.” I get it, I do. Or at least I think I do..from a single lady perspective, you don’t want others to get a misconception of “marriage”. I understand you want to make it known that “marriage” is a lifetime commitment, a vow between a man and wife before God. It’s a serious matter, not something to jump into or take lightly, but people stop calling it “hard work”.

Please.

There is approximately 171,478 words currently in use in the dictionary, surely there is a word more suitable to still express the seriousness of marriage without labeling it as “hard work”. Now before all my married friends, start deleting me, hear me out. Let me explain why I get so discouraged and at times passionately upset about hearing “hard work” as a means to describe marriage.

First, I am single. I am not just single but a lady who is a hope-full romantic and dreams of her wedding day. Dreams of the day I will just know that it is “him” who’m I have been patiently waiting for. So yes, this may be interpreted as an askew viewpoint, but again hear me out. Second, I believe in the power that, words hold the great power of bringing life or death. For this reason I chose the epithet above, but more on that later. Third, Scripture states in Ephesians 5: 25-27:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish”. 

The chapter, continues to describe marriage and the functioning role of a husband and wife, but my point is this: where did Scripture label marriage as “hard work”? It didn’t. The verses speak about love and care, and alludes to sacrifice (sure ‘Hard work” can be read between the lines) but do we call our relationship with Christ as hard work? When someone says, “I admire your faith. Or your faith is strong”. Do we respond with, “thank you it’s hard work.”?

-No

We don’t hear our pastors speaking those words over living a Christian day to day life. And as a Christian I can attest that it not always easy to “turn the other cheek”, to not speak before it’s time, etc, yet I don’t call my relationship with Christ as “hard work”. Why do you think that is?

I think the answer lies within the epithet above: Proverbs 15:4. We understand the power of the tongue, and know that speaking “hard work” over our Christian life has the power to discourage, overwhelm, and depress our walk of faith. So, if we deter from speaking that over our faith, why speak it over something as pure and powerful as marriage? If marriage is not about happiness, but about holiness. If marriage is about having a lifetime equal partner to fulfill God’s mission on this earth (Gen 2 & 3; Matt 28:16-20) then why speak “hard work” over one’s marriage? I believe that by speaking that phrase one is setting themselves up for difficulty and disagreements. I refuse to believe in the “seven year itch” and all of those myths about marriage. Even if they are true and one day I  walk through them, I will not accept it. My God is bigger than statistics. He is bigger than past experiences, and I am believing against those things and believing that my husband will share those views with me. The belief that our words are powerful, and the tongue holds the power of bringing life or death, strength or weakness, belief or doubt, peace or unrest, love or strongly dislikes.

These are my views, and for some time have been wanting to write this but was always afraid of the outcome. I feared social media and the possible negative responses this post would bring. I feared what will others think of me? What if they don’t like me anymore? But after many months of going “back and forth” on this post, I decided no, I need to say something. It really does upset me beyond discouragement when I hear that phrase. It shouldn’t but it does. I mean when you look at it from another point, “hard work” does hold the connotation of pride, reward, fulfillment, accomplishment, effort, perseverance, endurance, and commitment. But from a millennial perspective,  “hard work” is not something that pop culture embraces and inspires goal setting, instead it’s discouraging at least to the masses.

So perhaps we can come up with a better term, one that still encompasses seriousness, commitment, passion, perseverance, reward,  accomplishment, and life?

I propose, “adventure”. You know you are in it for the long run, but surprises await you just around the corner. There is uncertainty but a mutual goal is what keeps you going. You prepare for the most part, and are willing to sort out the unknowns together. At least that’s my definition.

Thank you for visiting, reading, and being patient with this hope-full romantic. I truly appreciate you for taking the time with this post. I hope you come back, and that you are not too upset with me for my boldness this time. I like to think of this post as a freshly brewed dark roast cup of coffee. It’s bitter tasting but the strength is definitely evident in the taste, yet dark black coffee isn’t for everyone.

I pray blessings over your week,

S

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Who’s The Real Monster?

Tonight, I joined a friend to watch the 1931 film, Frankenstein; and I was left with one thought, “who is the monster?”. 

Most of us grew up with the idea that the character, “Frankenstein”, is the monster/creation in the movie, but (if you read the book) and watch the film adaptations closely you will notice that the creation/experiment is never given a name. He is not Frankenstein.  The character, “Frankenstein”, is actually the scientist who chooses to defy the laws of nature, and attempts to bring dead tissue to life. When he succeeds, he then tries to communicate with the creation as he continues with his research. In the 1931 adaptation, you learn that his fiancé, friend, and mentor are aware of Frankenstein’s experiment, and they allow him to continue with his research. His mentor even encourages him and remains by his side. (So are they the monsters?). Then Frankenstein places his lab assistant in charge of the “creation”. The lab assistant treats the experiment with disrespect and uses force to correct him, or perhaps to emphasize inferiority v. superiority between the two. (So is the lab assistant “the monster”?). After some time of mistreatment and abuse, the “creation” longs for freedom and in his desperation loses control and kills the lab assistant and mentor. The “creation” then encounters a young girl near a lake, who treats him with compassion and kindness, she teaches him to throw flowers in the lake because they float. Excited, he seeks to find other things that float and throws the child (who didn’t know how to swim) into the lake. As the film continues, the “creation” stumbles upon Frankenstein’s home, and recognizing the fiancée he excitedly tries to communicate with her. The fiancée startled, panicks, and begins to wrestle him leading into what is later interpreted as an attack. The entire village in an outrage decide to hunt and kill the “creation”. In the end Frankenstein faces his “creation” and gets injured, so the “creation” takes him back to the only place he knew as home. This leads to another confrontation causing Frankenstein to fly off the building, (mob interprets it as attempted murder) and they burn the windmill down trapping and terminating  the “creation’s” existence.

So, is he the monster? The “creation” did kill three individuals and harmed two, isn’t that what defines a monster? Especially because he showed no remorse for his actions.. yet again was it his fault? Did he ask to be brought to life? Wasn’t he mistreated? Terrorized? Misunderstood? Isn’t it his creator’s fault, for not taking responsibility over his experiment? Frankenstein did defy the laws of nature after all? Frankenstein also put another in charge of the creation’a care, instead of overeseeing it himself. And what about the third party? Shouldn’t they have alerted the authorities? Stopped Frankenstein from carrying out such an atrocity? Who is the real monster?

Pop culture would have us believe it’s “the creation”, the film appears to point to “Frankenstein”, maybe even the lab assistant since he was the one that terrorized the “creation”… Do you know who I think is the monster?

— No one

No one spoke up to stop Frankenstein. No one supervised the lab assistant. No one treated the “creation”, like it had life. The film doesn’t even give it a name. No one tried to understand “the creation”. No one questioned, “the creation’s” behavior, like why did it keep Frankenstein alive and brought him back to the tower? Why did he run in fear instead of strangling the fiancée? If he was a monster wouldn’t he have killed them? No one took the time to teach the creature social norms, or words. Absence is the real monster  to me. Absence of compassion, kindness, respect, education, love, control, courage, understanding, research, communication, are all the real monsters in Frankenstein. Whatever environment “the creation” was exposed to is exactly what its behavior mirrored, violence and fear. It did not know any better; no one ever taught him. 

Was it their fault? Perhaps, or perhaps not no one had ever experimented like that before, once again there was an absence of records. 

So why go on a rant? Because we need to stop. We need to stop being absent, and be present. Speak where words are needed. Step into roles that others fear. Respond with compassion and forgiveness, instead of pride and hurt. Allow wisdom in when making decisions. Be confident. Be brave. Be watchful. Be respectful. Be honest. Be tactful. Be humble.  Be willing to serve. There are many social injustices and so many disagreements in life but there is a correct approach to address them, and a “mob with torches” is not the best approach. 

(Prayer is, the Biblical kind: Matthew 6: 5-15). 

So if you’re reading this dear one, I ask you to ponder, ” where are you being absent? And how can I change it?”.

Stop “the monster”, and be present.