By Jean Nave 

Scottie contentment


Last updated 10/25/2022 at Noon

Fall is in the air. Nights are cool and crisp, and days offer golden sunshine. This is the best time of year to me and my Scotties. We aren’t fans of too much heat, and we’d rather not deal with 10-degree walks. This is perfect. It’s why we live in this amazing country.

It’s now nine months since we lost our third and youngest Scottie, Chewy. During those nine months we’ve watched our big boy, Bernie, and our little girl, Piper, turn into the most contented pair of dogs we’ve ever lived with. It’s amazing.

Piper fell head-over-heels in love with Bernie when we first rescued her and Chewy. It took Bernie a while to return the admiration, but he became more and more fond of Piper as time passed.

Now, with Chewy out of the mix, the two Scotties remind me of a loving couple whose kids have moved out of the house. Their affection and contentment could be the envy of any married team. They hold no grudges or unkind thoughts from the past. They just enjoy each other in the moment.

I’ve often said that dogs are God’s gift to us because they show us, the closest thing possible to unconditional love. Bernie and Piper are offering a wonderful illustration of how beautiful love is as expressed in a long-term relationship.

Why is it often so challenging for mature couples living in “empty nests” to be content? I’ve known many men and women who get a job or start a business soon after retirement just so they can “get out of the house.”

I’ve heard women say, “Thank God he plays golf all the time, so I don’t have him underfoot.”

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I’ve heard men say, “I told her to get a job so that she would have something to do.”

These are people who would tell you that they love their spouses. Yet they don’t want to live with them full-time after retirement. Something’s missing. Probably some of that unconditional love.

First Corinthians, chapter 13 gives us a good definition of love. It is speaking to us of the general love for our fellow human, not romantic love. But the love a couple has as they get older must have turned into the “fellow human” kind of love, rather than the romantic love of youth. If it hasn’t matured into that, then the relationship is not reaching anywhere near its full potential.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:1).

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Long-term relationships must be both patient and kind. Often, time has caused us to be less patient with our spouse. The grind and crush of many arguments over the years, often without total forgiveness for some offenses, can make one less kind and considerate to their partner than they are to their friends.

Surely you have heard of envy being a problem in marriage. He or she has a better job, more friends, more time to play and relax. These are just a few of the challenges, and one’s pride can fuel such fires.

Rudeness. Have we been saying “thank you” for all the help we give to one another? We say thank you to our friends and coworkers. Let’s make sure we say it often to our spouse.

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Self-seeking. There are studies that show that people spend 96 percent of their time thinking about themselves. In a marriage, all movement toward reducing that to at least a 50/50 level of thinking about one’s spouse causes amazing improvement in the relationship.

Now we move to anger/ forgiveness. The more closely one reads the teachings of Jesus and any of the other great spiritual leaders in the world, one finds that forgiveness is the most important aspect of true love. Be slow to anger and fast to forgive.

Complete forgiveness for all past perceived transgressions can take a long time and a great deal of introspection. Once all the old grudges and hang-ups have been emptied from one’s heart and soul, the most glorious transition takes place in the person and in any relationships that person has.

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Evil. The truest meaning of evil in the Bible is our own wrong thinking or thinking negatively. Negative thinking lets in fear, and fear is the greatest evil of them all. When we let fear control us, we lose control of ourselves and our lives. Without fear, only you and God are in control, and God is perfect and complete Good. Without fear, you are safe and at peace. And that is the truth.

May God bless you and your relationships, that you may find complete contentment.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).


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