Our congregation has a robust Married Couples Ministry.
Unfortunately, I cannot publicly share their activities with you, for “What happens in Married Couples Ministry, stays in Married Couples Ministry.” However, there is a saying that we use that is applicable to much of life: “You don’t have to get it, to get it.”
We use this statement to encourage spouses to respond to their mates even when they do not understand the request.
For example, you don’t have to understand why your spouse needs a new power tool for his workshop, especially since he has several similar tools that he rarely uses, to agree to the purchase of a new tool. You don’t have to understand why your spouse needs a new pair of red bottom shoes when she has several pairs of shoes that look very similar and cost a lot less.
On a deeper level, this simple statement points toward an important truth. We all live in different worlds. Our worlds have been shaped by exterior and interior forces. The complexity of our worlds is often difficult to communicate to someone else.
Unfortunately, our human default is to believe that we all live in the same world. We tend to believe that what is true for us is true for all, and what is beneficial for us is beneficial for all. We tend to believe that the path we used to achieve success should be used by all to obtain similar success.
The polarizing, hot button political issues in our world are the result of world views clashing. Gun control laws, court decisions on abortion, climate control policies, and voters’ rights legislation are examples of these clashing world views.
A person on one side of any of these issues might never fully understand someone on the other side. Here’s the good news: You don’t have to get it, to get it.
In the example of the married couple, a wife might never understand why a certain power tool is important to her husband. However, she supports the purchase of the tool because she knows this will make her marriage stronger. The same could be said about a husband and the red bottom shoes. The goal is to act in the best manner for the marriage – to make decisions that strengthen the bonds of marriage.
The founders of our country focused on the health of our nation. The first line of the Preamble of the Constitution reads: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union …” The constitution was written with a focus on the health of our nation, on creating a more perfect union.
Can you imagine the change that would take place if political parties focused on the health of our nation and not their political orientation? Seeing our differences as growth opportunities and not win-lose scenarios? It is possible for people who view the world quite differently to agree to grow together.
The beauty of our country is its vision for her future. Out of many we can become one. We can live, love and work together, even if we do not understand the nuances of our various cultures and world views. We don’t have to get it, to get it.
The Rev. Dr. Jon R. Black is senior pastor at Campbell Chapel A.M.E. Church in Bluffton.