“I give not because I have not, but if I had, I would give.”
(Another Psychological/Scientific application of Eternal Principles)
One of the most telling indicators that a relationship is ready to make an attempt at Season 1: Courtship, is if both are healed enough and recovered enough to bring value into the relationship.
To use a Pioneer journey analogy, each traveler on the team needs to be not only in a mindset of giving, but also must be psychologically capable of doing so.
Mosiah 4:16-27 is the best reference I have found to negotiate the correct balance on this theme. In my experience, when working with traumatized relationships, it is wise to start at the end of these verses.
Assuming both the husband and the wife are still invested in “winning the prize”, which in our context is the miracle of the marriage being healed or raised from the dead into a happy and healthy marriage, it is vital both the husband and wife are diligent, but wise when it comes to giving to the relationship. Each, as part of their daily personal connection time with God, must do an assessment on their “resources”.
Think of yourself as the steward over the supplies in your personal wagon. In your personal connection time with God, do a careful assessment of what you have to offer in the different areas of intimacy.
Take an inventory of how much Verbal Intimacy resources you have. Then look at Cognitive elements (plans for the future you are ready to share), Emotional (things from the past you have feelings about), Psychological (exchanges of ideas and feelings toward solving a problem), Spiritual (sharing inspiration together) and Physical (any level of touch and bodily connection).
Before we add more information, we need to look closely at a few more verses….
The people I meet in my office requesting marriage therapy are very depleted, psychologically and emotionally. Whether they are the one who is betrayed or the one doing the betraying, each start the process with almost nothing to give. I am so grateful for this verse, because it tells the participants exactly what to say. “I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.”
It is very dangerous, after someone else has spent time with their God in personal assessment to judge that they could give more.
“If I understand you correctly, I hear that you are asking me to provide you with…. I care about you, so it is important to me that you have ….. Unfortunately, after careful assessment with God, I am sad to tell you that I am not able to provide you with … at this time. I am relieved that we both have access to God and His Son and His Atonement at this time so that your needs will not go unattended to. I do not know how God will take care of you, but I am so grateful that he will.
I am so grateful that the scriptures tell us “Come unto me” and “I am the well of living life” and “do not rely upon the arm of flesh”. This brings me the comfort of knowing you need not go without even though I cannot currently provide what would take care of you.”
Observe and take note that this paragraph could really come across as bitter or sarcastic. Before you say or write something like this to your spouse, be sure to practice it until you can do so with full sincerity.
Final note on verses 24 and 25, it is important that you don’t allow yourself, as influenced by others, including spouse and demons, not to feel guilt or condemnation if you are maintaining full integrity about your current limitations. And if you are maintaining full integrity, then don’t let this next section knock you off balance.
My stomach always cringes when a client, one of the spouses, tells me something like, “I am not going to do anything for him/her! He/she brought this misery upon themselves.” These verses not only encourage us to measure out our resources (substance), but command us in strong language to strive to serve (succor) those that we see are in need around us.
Before reading these verses closely, many years ago when I was working through some of my own issues, it never occurred to me that my mental investment, my emotional investment, my creative problem solving skills, my compassion and empathy, my ability to get revelation, my skills with fine tuned discernment and refined communication, etc, etc, are all on the list of “substance” as described in this verse.
I must always remember that, in the same way water and vegetables come from God for a hard working farmer, my gifts and talents come from God as well, notwithstanding how hard I work.
Please, I beg of you as my fellow mortal on this planet, DO NOT withhold resources you have been blessed with from your spouse to “teach them a lesson”. You DO NOT want to experience “perisheth forever and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.”
And then the prophet nails the principle down again. Never judge whether or not your spouse “deserves” your “substance”. The resources/substance you need for healing and/or recovery (vs 20) could “perish” with you (vs 23) if you have it and you don’t “impart” to the other “beggar” in your story.
And, I am confident, that it is equally spiritually and psychologically dangerous to judge the other person from the opposite side of the coin. Please Do Not judge as to whether or not the other person is “withholding their substance” or that they are not “running faster than they have strength.” It scares me when I hear someone say, “I know they could be doing more. They say they are doing their best and giving their all, but I know they are not.” Please be careful.
So, please approach this situation as you would if you were crossing the plains together. If you were to go to your person and ask, “Do you have some of _____ to share?”
And they said, “I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.”
You would say, “Thank you for checking, I will now go to God and his resources to not only get my needs met, but I will strive to gather enough to share with you when I get back.”
You would not get frustrated. You would not stand there and say, “Well, you are supposed to have that in your wagon for me, so I am going to stand here and starve until you get it for me.”
These are some brutal and relieving verses. Please, go back and re-read from the beginning.
Do not run faster than you have strength. Be wise. Be kind when you have nothing to give. Go to God and his resources regularly and gather not only enough for yourself, but for your partner too. And give what you can.
Any questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Maurice W. Harker, CMHC
Director of Life Changing Services
For more training on marriage improvement by Maurice W. Harker, CLICK HERE