And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
At nearly every wedding ceremony I perform, the bride and groom hear this verse from Ephesians as a part of my charge to them. Marriage is not a fifty-fifty proposition. It is two people each giving 100 percent, regardless of the performance of their mate. In other words, it is a husband’s responsibility to be as kind, tender-hearted and forgiving to his wife as Christ has been to him. Likewise, it is the wife’s responsibility to extend that same Christ-like kindness, tender-heartedness and forgiveness to her husband.
I wonder sometimes if this is truly understood as a bride and groom stand at the altar. I imagine if their thoughts could be broadcast, they would be more like this: “Boy, I’ve got a gal here who will meet all my needs. I’ve had a poor self-image all my life, but now I have someone who really loves me, and I’m thrilled to be with her.” And the bride: “I’m so glad I’ve found this guy who will meet all of my needs for life. When we’re married, all of my troubles with family, friends, relationships, and work will just melt away!” This is what I call a “two ticks/no dog” proposition. A tick is a parasite in the insect world. It sees a host, attaches itself to that host, and has itself a nourishing meal.
But when a husband and wife both look to the other person as their “meal ticket” to lifelong satisfaction, what you have is two ticks and no dog, or to put it another way, two takers and no givers. It is not hard to see trouble ahead for a relationship of this sort.