The Golden Rule and Strong Marriages
When you spoke these words, did you know you were quoting scripture?
- “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12).¹
As someone who began studying Christianity late in life, I was surprised to see how much our culture is built upon biblical wisdom. There is plenty to explore on this topic, but for now I want to focus on how we treat people.
- How do you treat the barrista when your coffee is not perfectly crafted?
- What does your face communicate to the exasperated parent with the whaling toddler?
- Do you show contempt for your spouse?
Here are some choices we must make on a daily basis:
- Patience or frustration
- Empathy or detachment
- Serve or be served
Your choice may be influenced by your worldview.
Patience would have no survival value when working from a naturalistic framework. He who waits for his food while others build into a ravenous frenzy starves. In theory, patience should have been selected for extinction.
Empathy is a difficult feeling to embrace if your worldview focuses on reaching a state of total emptiness.
Serving others could interfere with their spiritual advancement if you believe in a system of karmic debt.
People with the above worldviews can act patient, display empathy, and serve others; but their actions may be contrary to their convictions. These choices will affect how you treat the barrista, the parent, and your spouse.
In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking he interviews psychologist John Gottman who reveals how to tell if a marriage is in trouble.
Gottman was able to identify the “single most important indicator that a marriage is in trouble: contempt.”²
This can mean disdain, willful disobedience, or simply a lack of respect. However is is displayed, it will kill your marriage.
If you want to strengthen your relationships, take the following action:
- Be patient when you don’t feel like it
- Put yourself if in the other person’s shoes
- Be the first to serve and the last to demand
In other words, follow the Golden Rule.
Is there a Silver Bullet to keep us from missing the mark?
- The Secret to Success: Improve Your Life in Five Words
- Monogamy in the Kingdom: Natural, Unnatural, or Supernatural?
- Love: An Amusing Illusion or God’s Greatest Gift
¹The New King James Version, Mt 7:12 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982).
²Malcom Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2005), 32.
Photo credit: Jason B. Ladd