The DNV concept
The process of growth is a function of desire (D). Desire is however predicated on need (N). And the outcome of desire and need is always visible (V) to everyone.
‘Like newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious’. 1 Peter 2:2b-3
Although the illustration used in this scripture captures the essence of spiritual growth, it is a principle of general application. The desire for milk is innate in every newborn. By design, the new life (or any newness) desires milk supply.
The desire for milk is fueled by an underlying need. The need precedes the desire. The brain signals the need, and then the baby cries for food. At the very core is a definite need for the supply of the right kind of food that will guarantee growth. In this case, the pure milk of the word! A mother must source the food that her new baby needs to grow. Not just any kind of food to numb the body’s need.
Provided with the right food, fueled by desire, the process of growth starts and the increase in baby’s size becomes visible to all.
Simple as this paradigm may sound, one would expect that a married couple will appreciate the innate desire for the right kind of food that their marriage craves. That until the marriage is provided with what it needs to grow, the lack of it, will be visible to all.
On the contrary, the unsaid belief is that our marriage will grow on its own. That growth will happen as a matter of course. Something may in fact grow, but it is not marriage, the lack of which will breed visible frustration.
Like water and sunlight is to plants, so is food and oxygen to human life. By extension, married life depends on intentional provision.
Dear Mr. Ted and Mrs. Cherry (together called sweethearts),
‘Which of you intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost? For fear that after you have laid the foundation, and not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock you saying’, these (sweethearts) began to build and were not able to finish’. Luke 14:28-30
Ted: Not me! I plan. Strategically too. Should I run out, I have a network base to borrow from. I’ll even repay with healthy interests. Check out my following on my LinkedIn profile. Moreover, doing a building project with sweetheart Cherry is a walkover. She is brilliant. And I love her. Once I fulfill my duty of casting the vision and providing the resources, I trust she will handle the rest; without supervision.
Cherry: (chuckles) I am flattered! Indeed, I can deliver the project.
Looks like the take-off point of a beautiful marriage.
But hey, regardless of the conditions around how you got married (good or bad) or to whom (sweet or sour), you will find that marriage- the union of two people- is built together. It is not a half meet half 50% contribution of each party, but a full 100% by each one.
Building anything of worth requires vision, materials, effort, and time. True to our Lord Jesus’ teaching on the cost of discipleship in Luke 14, it requires 100%. Marriage too!
To succeed at growth, the mutual contribution of our best is critical. Not once in a while, but all the time. Alone, it is tough. Mrs. Cherry cannot go far, despite Mr. Ted’s starter pack.
We must embrace the importance of team work, and staying the course together. The beauty of marriage is that it unlocks the potential of two people to transform their world together.
‘My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth’. 1 John 3:18
No other place provides a better platform to test this than in marriage. By the very nature of this special relationship, it is the truest reflection of our Christian character.
Loving in word is easy; in deed is the big deal. Loving your spouse intentionally is the pathway that assesses your motivation and your actions. This intentionality is dressed in our routines.
A profound statement reads ‘The secret of your future is hidden in your routine. Successful people do daily what unsuccessful people do once in a while’.
It is in the everyday of a married life that you will experience the growth you need and your love is processed. Together, you and your spouse must identify daily routines that can feed your marital growth.
You cannot afford to be passive and expect that something good will grow out of an uncultivated soil. If you want valuable crops, you have to intentionally grow them. If you really want to reap value from your spouse, you have to deliberately sow value. Without the needed daily effort, marriage cannot succeed.
Routines that spur each of you to good works, that support healthy time to nurture the long term friendship, that respects the relationship enough to work it out, that honors the sacred vows that were made, and to enjoy the process of growing old together not just growing old.
What are you willing to invest in order to present a legacy of a healthy marriage to your next generation? Have you imagined the joys on the faces and hearts of those who will encounter the script of your love journey? Do you realize you have a chance to produce a landmark story of love, of forgiveness, of discipline, of hope, of togetherness? If this doesn’t excite you, what will?
And guess what? You aren’t alone on this course. The world is littered with real men and women who are rewriting history by standing up for the truth. They may be few, but it is their cumulative sacrifices that have paved the way for you to read this piece right now. Now, buckle yourself and get your sweetheart on the ‘heroes of marriage’ roll call.
Listen to how Hebrew 12:1-3 (The Message) narrates the legacy of the heroes of faith:
‘Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!’
Until you finish too, Amen!