What do you think of when you hear the word accommodate? “Accommodations” reminds me of traveling or booking a room. When someone gives me accommodations, they are making space for me. Moving some things around to provide for my needs. I think of a weary traveler needing a place to stay.
Joe is the weary traveler that came into my life and heart 25 years ago. Life had beat him up and worn him down. Wondering why he wasn’t loved, if he’d ever be safe, feeling alone, and pretty much without any hope.
But it didn’t take long for me to realize he would need some accommodations. Maybe some special accommodations. God was asking me to move some things around. Things like my pride, my selfishness, my impatience. Make some room for someone with wildly different needs than me.
Colossians 3 talks about bearing with each other- the NLT refers to making allowances for each other. I knew that was what God was asking of me in my marriage. Allow for the fact that he may be struggling.
How did I accommodate Joe?
The most courageous way I accommodated Joe was offering him hope when he felt hopeless. I asked him where he was at when he met me:
Joe: “There was a time I really didn’t fully expect to be alive. I didn’t feel like I was worth anything. When I met you and you were filled with hope- I thought, you didn’t know what you were talking about- in your own little happy world while I was struggling to keep my head above water. A part of me always had hope- maybe that I would die- I just didn’t have the kind of hope you had. I thought it would be just a survival existence. That I’d be fine if I could just get through each day. It was overwhelming to think of all that stood in my way, the pain, the negativity, the hopelessness.”
Yes, at times this was tiring on me, the constant hopelessness. I often referred to myself as his cheerleader, rah- rah- rah-ing on the sidelines of his life, while he was stuck in this place of why am I even playing this game.
Then I would pray, why am I the only one holding on to the hope? Do I have to accommodate him? I don’t want to take care of him. I want to take care of me. This is ridiculous that he feels this way. That he’s responding this way. Why is this so hard?
Then the Lord reminds me, this is how hard it is for Joe. He’s working though the hard stuff. And if he’s working through the hard stuff then so can I. If he needs hope, I will offer hope.
I asked Joe, how did this offering of hope affect you?
Joe: It gave me this sense of confidence that God loved me, knowing that someone cared about me. I had a sense of responsibility in my life that someone needs me. When I saw you had that kind of hope, I wanted to live and make something of myself. There might be a chance that I can be something. Maybe God did have a purpose for my life. It made me want to be the kind of man that would be worthy of that kind of hope.
God didn’t ask me to enable him or encourage Joe to stay in his feelings of hopelessness. He asked me to accommodate him. Was it bending over backwards and allowing him to walk all over me and do whatever he wanted to ease the pain? Not at all. It was scooching over in my seat so there’s a place for him to sit. Even if it meant I would have little less space for me.
Learning to offer that Christ-like love to each other is what gave us strength. It was in the sacrifice and accommodating each other that we saw true love take root in our marriage. Even though it was hard, we realized that it’s the only kind of love that has a true payoff.
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:12-14
If you think you may be in a relationship where you are enabling and not accommodating, this may be helpful