I didn’t really get poverty when I was growing up. It seemed like poverty was a kid in Africa with skinny arms and a swollen belly. You too?
Then all of a sudden, poverty became much more real to me through some classes, books, and even film. I believe that there are many people who care deeply about global poverty, and even some who really want to change it. (For more click here and here and here. My friend Phil wrote a book about projects including the third here which you can order here and the website for the book is here. Check it out.)
Poverty isn’t only in 3rd world countries. Some would say that poverty is right here in the U.S.A. I agree that it is, but poverty is not only in a lack of food, shelter or family.
I think poverty exists in places we don’t expect it. For something to be impoverished means that it is reduced to poverty; that is poverty-stricken. Another definition is that it is deprived of natural richness or strength; limited or depleted.
There is one area of poverty that is on my heart today. It is the impoverished romance. When relationships cease to exist in the natural richness and strength for which they were intended, they are impoverished.
There are many impoverished dating relationships. The natural richness and strength of purity, honor, boundaries, and self-control are depleted. (Now, I’m just going to say…this is tough. Anybody else ever struggled with these? Let’s not get caught up in guilt or shame in this, but rather look into what we can practically do with today to set our future into a God-honoring trajectory.) Hope, beauty, trust, confidence, and self-worth quickly escape the couple that is in an impoverished dating relationship. The girl feels shame, and the guy loses respect for himself and the girl in the process. It isn’t healthy and isn’t sustainable, but instead of exiting the relationship, calling a halt to it, slamming on the brakes, (the illustrations can continue) the couple goes pedal to the metal on the gas and suddenly they are flying off a cliff.
There are many impoverished marriages. I questioned whether or not I should touch this subject, but I know that there are quite a few married people who read this blog. Look, I know I don’t have a whole lot of marital experience, but I can spot good and bad relationships pretty quickly. It becomes a story of impoverished love & impoverished respect. The wife doesn’t feel loved so she disrespects her husband and in turn he doesn’t love her and in turn she doesn’t respect him. Oh, it is an ugly cycle that leaves a marriage impoverished. (Check the book Love and Respect. Go buy it. It’ll teach you how to break the crazy cycle.) In the midst of impoverished love & impoverished respect exists an impoverished bedroom.
When there is an impoverished bedroom, both people suffer for it. Poverty is suffering. Poverty means that things aren’t how they should be. Basically, I’m just encouraging married people to have sex with each other. Yep, I said it. Have sex. Communicate. Love each other. Listen. Initiate intimacy. Have sex. Meet each other’s needs. It’s Biblical!
We need to do something about global poverty. I’d like to change it. It is going to take a sacrifice though. It is the same way with romantic poverty. Relational poverty. It is going to take sacrifice for the relationships to exist in the natural richness and strength for which they were intended.
In In conclusion, follow Jesus in all of this. Remember how he said, “Give and it will be given to you.” Let’s be givers in life as we see life, love, health, and rest be established in our futures.