You may be familiar with Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing where the bickering between Benedick and Beatrice—”My dear Lady Disdain, are you yet living?” is entirely overthrown. Friends trick Benedick into believing that Beatrice loves him—”Love me, why?”—and also trick Beatrice into believing that Benedick loves her. It amazes me what a change takes place in a person when they feel loved, truly loved, by another. It changes everything.
But we can lose sight of that when we fall into the trap of focusing on the mistakes or weaknesses of those we love. To me, it is one of the biggest mistakes we can make in our relationships.
One thing that took me nearly a lifetime to recognize is this: that the things we complain about are most often brought about by our own actions or inaction. We deceive and distract ourselves from the real, core problem by blaming others for our troubles, and this, I believe, is one of the ways we hurt ourselves the most. We think our limitations are caused by others, but it is we ourselves who hold the key to our own prison cell.
As a young friend once said to me, “You are your only limitation.” He was so right. We have little idea how much power we really have, to the delight of our adversary.
What you put out there comes back to you. We often call it the Law of the Harvest. The underlying doctrine behind this is very well founded in the scriptures, and if we believe the scriptures are true—that the Word of God is true and reliable—we will recognize more clearly where our blessings and troubles come from.
Let me with a simple yet powerful concept found in the Sermon on the Mount:
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. (Matthew 5:7.)
And then add this illuminating cross-reference:
The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh. (Proverbs 11:17.)
See how it works? If you show mercy, you will receive mercy in return. If you are cruel, cruelty will haunt your days.
These things don’t always come back to us immediately, but they will surely come over time in the economy of God. Our lives, in time, always yield the same kind of fruit that we plant.
The Savior asked later in that same sermon:
Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. (Matthew 7:16-17.)
So if you are planting thistles and thorns in your marriage, what are you going to get back?
So what I am saying in this series, especially to the men, the husbands, is to lay down your weapons of defense and just love your wives. See the good, all of it, and emphasize that. Everyday. See her beauty. See her intelligence and cleverness and wisdom. Adore her darling habits. Truly appreciate the things she does for you every day. Notice the effort she puts in to be beautiful, mostly for you. Start making more sacrifices for her. Love her truly, deeply, madly. Tell her that you do, and really mean it.
Now what will you get back?
At first, she will be suspicious. She will say, “What do you want from me?” Don’t place demands on her. Just love her to bits. In my experience and close observation, if you love in this way, she will pay you back 100 times.
If you do this consistently—no, unremittingly—your relationship will start bearing more pleasing, more shapely, sweeter, more delicious fruit.
The key is making the commitment within yourself to love her even if she is grumpy, mad, or upset. See past that and keep moving forward. This is the key to winning in love.
P.S. Once again, as always, this won’t work readily if there are serious emotional issues at play. But even if there are, keep trying anyway. One way or another, it will all come back to you, good for good or grudging for grudging. The law the harvest is immutable.