How to be a Wise Guy (and Gal)
- Friday, October 17, 2003
Falling in love is a dizzying experience. Once the spark of attraction catches flame, love quickly turns into a raging fire of unreasoned passion. Engulfed by its heat, couples sometimes sacrifice all sound judgment in the interest of bonding their relationship. The Song of Songs says, "Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away" (8:7). Love, by its very nature, is extravagant.
We read recently about a man who hired a helicopter to drop 2,500 carnations and 10,000 love letters on the lawn of a woman he loved. Apparently the woman failed to share this man's affection and had him charged with littering. She told reporters "he had lost his mind."
Love really can cause some people to lose their heads. They become "crazy in love." They become compelled by the emotional force of love and forsake their analytical ability. It's a common danger. The compelling emotional force overrides our capacity to think clearly if we let it. That is why Scripture urges us to "be careful, then, how you live-not as unwise, but wise" (Eph. 5:15).
Have you thought much about wisdom-the ability to reason with insight? You should. It is essential to the success of your relationships. Sure, the emotional side of love is vital, and you will need to stoke the fires of passion over the years, but don't neglect the cool calm of wisdom.
Wisdom is not about saying wise words or doing wise deeds. It is concerned with being, not doing. So how do you cultivate wisdom in marriage? Or, as Job asked, "Where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell?" (28:12). The writer of Proverbs compared searching for wisdom to mining and said, "If you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand" (2:4-5).
After a decade of marriage my spouse and I are still on an expedition for more wisdom. Daily we seek to avoid being unwise and we have discovered two tools that are essential in our pursuit.
First of all, we have learned that wisdom only comes when humble. As Socrates said, "The wisest man is he who knows his own ignorance." Without humility marriage partners fall victim to pride, and "when pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom" (Prov. 11:2). Be humble enough to ask for help. Learn how to ask a good question. According to Francis Bacon, "A prudent question is one-half of wisdom."
The second tool for mining wisdom in relationships stems from the first-ask God to share his wisdom with you (see James 1:5). Human wisdom on its own is inadequate (see 1 Cor. 1:19; 1:21; 3:18-19). We need the wisdom that comes from God, for "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Ps. 111:10; see also Prov. 9:10; Matt 12:42, 13:54; Acts 6:3).
So enjoy the dizzying emotions of love when they come, but never neglect the importance of wisdom in marriage. It is a shared pursuit for soul mates and it will bless your union.
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