Consider this like a guest post. This is a section pulled from this book which I’ve been talking about and quoting from quite a bit. This book is The Sacred Search by Gary Thomas. Get it. Read it. This is just one section from one chapter but it spoke to me enough to give it its own blog post and then a follow up blog post and probably also linked back to in future blog posts. This is a Brave Dating practice type of blog post.
A marriage of ministry is a marital partnership. Two givers geometrically increase their ability to give. A giver married to a taker gets depleted and tired, which is why you want to find someone who knows how to love and give. Such an ideal isn’t selfish; it’s wise. If you marry a taker, you’ll compromise your own ability to love others outside the marriage.
The sad reality is, some people are givers and some people are takers. Givers don’t always mind being in a relationship with a taker because they like to give; it brings them joy. But there are times when the giver needs to receive. Let’s say the giver gets really sick, or is laid off, even though he provided the bulk of the income, or just goes through a discouraging time and suffers things he has never known before, like depression or anxiety.
In those instances, can your taker learn to give? In most cases, sadly, the answer is no. That person might freak out, abandon the relationship, or just run around in an emotional/relational panic, adding to the giver’s problems rather than addressing them.
If you marry a taker, you’re sitting on a relational time bomb, because you’re making the bet that, as a giver, your fallen body and your fallen soul won’t ever get so fallen that you’ll someday need help, at least for a season.
That’s foolish, because you will.
When a taker has to give, he feels sorry for himself even more than he feels empathy for you. Instead of concentrating on providing care, she’ll talk about how difficult she has it, trying to get everyone to feel sorry for her.
…When a wife is giving birth to a child or suffering an illness, a taker’s buddies hear only about how he’s not getting any sex. When a husband who is the sole wage earner comes home, fixes dinner, takes care of the kids, and even cleans up the dishes, the taker wife thinks he’s being selfish if he wants his twice-a-week bout of sexual intimacy (this is a real life example by the way), because she’s tired from her tennis match.
Even if you’re a giver who likes to give, it’s exhausting being married to a taker. A taker will suck the life out of you in many ways, and in one sense undercut your ability to minister to others. You can still minister, but you’ll have less energy to do so, because your marriage will be holding you back.
If God is calling you to a strong ministry outside the home, don’t even think about marrying a taker. Part of being a good steward toward a ministry call is building a life that can support that call, and marrying a taker will undercut that. I have told some singles, as they have described the dynamics of their dating relationship, ‘If you marry this person, they’ll become your primary ministry. You won’t have much left over after taking care of them. Is this what you think God is calling you to?
…It might sound selfish to want to marry a giver, but, as I’ve said so often, do you want your kids to be raised by someone who resents being annoyed, or by someone who will parent with a servant’s heart? Do you want to invite someone to a home where your spouse is more concerned about the floors or furniture getting dirty, or where the guests feel welcomed? Do you want to sit in a restaurant with a date who treats the server like an underling or like a person who may need to be encouraged?
The person you marry will be married to you in every element of life. You’re not just choosing a spouse—you’re choosing a partner who will represent you, as half of a couple, to the rest of the world. Wouldn’t you rather be part of a giving couple? Think about how much more you can give, how you can accelerate your family’s ability to love others, when you join one giving heart to another.
Ask yourself, when you spend time with your partner do you feel drained or invigorated? Would you describe the relationship as healing and supportive, or exhausting and combative? To you givers, asking these questions may feel uncomfortable, but here’s where I want you to consider a marriage as a base to seek first the kingdom of God. When you know that someone has your back and will help you out if you get into trouble; that the spouse waiting for you at home won’t be as frustrated by your delay as she will be delighted that God is using you; that he will want to listen to what happened and help you recover, you’re freer to serve others. You will also—someone ironically—have more energy to love your spouse if you’re married to a giver rather than a taker, because a taker often uses up your energy in other ways, most notably by regularly demanding acts of performance. Takers thereby sabotage your ability to give love to them in a way that is satisfying and honoring to God. Pp.203-207
This is a lot to think about. Good. Think back to whom you have dated in your past. Were they takers or givers? Think about whom you are attracted to now? Is he/she a giver or a taker? Think of the type you have been drawn to. Is that type a giver or a taker? Think about what you want for your future. Do you want a giver or a taker?
Then there is this hard question: Are you a taker or a giver?
This is some eye opening stuff as you brave date. Keep your eyes open. Find those givers and don’t settle for less.
(photo credit: https://www.expenseondemand.com/own-up-are-you-a-giver-or-a-taker/)