How would you like to come back from a short honeymoon and discover another couple has moved into your apartment while you were gone?
Tony and Janelle already lived with us in our apartment because of health issues, but Rick and Marta then showed up, needing a place to stay for a time. We were all friends, but this was not exactly a love boat situation for us.
Carol and I were learning how to live with each other while also learning how to live with other people at the same time. And guess what? Proximity adds pressure, pressure becomes stress, and if the conditions are right, stress erupts.
A few days after our return, Carol arrived home from work to see me in a bad mood.
“Larry, what is your problem?” she said with concern on her face.
“I want to kill the other two couples.”
“That doesn’t sound very godly.”
“Well, God killed more people in the Old Testament than anyone else did. Thus, maybe, I’ll be acting as an agent of God by hanging the four of them.”
She rolled her eyes.
“Listen up, Honey, if you don’t get on your knees and repent, we will never have our own place. Think about that, okay?”
I mumbled something as she left the bedroom, but eventually I bowed down by the bed, praying until peace filled my heart about our situation.
“Lord, I give up. If You want us to live with other people, I will love them and be their servant to the best of my ability.”
My attitude changed right away. Dirty dishes left in the sink − no problem. I washed them. Food left on the counter − no problem. I put it away. Messy living room − no problem. I vacuumed and straightened everything up. Need groceries − no problem. I went out and bought them. Wrong TV channel − no problem. I changed channels.
This revelation dawned on me that day: if I am unhappy about something, I needed to shut up, and fix the problem. This was the only way to live in community with other believers without creating a bunch of laws, which all would end up hating and rebelling against.
This attitude especially helped us in our first three years of marriage because Carol and I lived with other people a little more than two thirds of the time.
(An excerpt from my memoir – The Hunt for Larry Who by Larry Nevenhoven, ©2014, Amazon eBook)
(Continued in Part 5…but if you want to read all the parts to date, you can go here.