Dare 6: Love is not irritable. Love is hard to offend and quick to forgive. How easily do you get irritated and offended? When something goes wrong, some people quickly take full advantage of it by expressing how hurt or frustrated they are. But this is the opposite reaction to love. A loving husband will remain calm and patient, showing mercy and restraining his temper. A loving wife is not overly sensitive or cranky but exercises emotional self-control.
Why do people become irritable? There are at least two key reasons that contribute to it:
1. Stress. Stress weighs you down, drains your energy, weakens your health, and invites you to be cranky. It can be brought on by relational causes--arguing, division, and bitterness. There are excessive causes--overworking, overplaying, and overspending. And there are deficiencies--not getting enough rest, nutrition, or exercise. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. This means you must balance, prioritize, and pace yourself...You need time to recharge, refocus, and add breathing room or margin to your weekly schedule.
2. Selfishness. When you're irritable, the heart of the problem is primarily a problem of the heart... Being easily angered is an indicator that a hidden area of selfishness or insecurity is present. Selfishness also wears many other masks. Lust is the result of being ungrateful for what you have and choosing to covet or burn with passion for something that is forbidden. Or, bitterness takes root when you respond in a judgmental way and refuse to work out your anger. A bitter person's unresolved anger leaks out when she is provoked. Or, greed for more money and possessions will frustrate you with unfulfilled desires. Pride leads you to act harshly in order to protect your ego and reputation.
These motivations can never be satisfied. But when love enters your heart, it calms you down and inspires you to quit focusing on yourself. It loosens your grasp and helps you let go of unnecessary things.
The Dare: Choose today to react to tough circumstances in your marriage in loving ways instead of with irritation. Begin by making a list of areas where you need to add margin to your schedule. Then list any wrong motivations that you need to release from your life. If you overreacted, what was your real motivation behind it?
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city. Proverbs 16:32.