Monday, November 12, 2012

The Golden Rule in Marriage

As a young wife, I had a mean side that loved to present itself during an argument with Mike.  While I don’t like to admit it, I’m sure I often used the “s” word (‘stupid’) with the intent of stinging the heart of my husband.  He soon shared how much he disliked my approach to fighting, which had the same effect as pouring gasoline on a flame.  Knowing how much my words wounded him caused me to use them to my advantage to “win” arguments.   How sad to look back and realize that I wasn’t winning at all, but pushing him away and causing him to withdraw.  My words and actions were causing my best friend to wish to be anywhere else but by my side. 

Over time, I learned that we could disagree and still speak kindly to one another.   I could express displeasure without using my claws on his heart.  The Bible teaches that I am to treat my husband in the same way that I would want him to treat me (Matthew 7:12), and that means I should keep my sharp tongue caged, to the very best of my ability, by allowing Christ to work in me.  My husband is not a stupid man; in fact, he is extremely gifted and intelligent.  If I could see those traits on a daily basis, why did I express the exact opposite during a fight?

It has become a high priority for me to speak kindly to my husband at all times.  Sadly, some friends and relatives who think that I am too passive have mocked me for this, hinting that I am not forceful enough with my man.  But here’s the thing:  I do not relate to my husband with a goal of winning the approval of my friends.  I relate to my husband in order to bring glory and honor to God.  Therefore, I do my best to pray before I speak and have learned that I communicate more effectively when I show him my constant respect.  By speaking with kind words instead of hurling insults, we avoid most fights, have a deeper understanding of each other’s views, and move toward faster unity.  

When we do disagree, I do my best to use phrases like, “I feel ___” rather than “You always _____.”   It is my aim to share my heart and the ‘how and why’ of my feelings instead of accusing him, which helps us keep our sights on our shared vision of unity.  Make no mistake, I’m no doormat and I don’t lay all of my wants, desires, opinions and knowledge aside so that he can always have his way.  Instead, I share my viewpoint with respect and kindness rather than making him feel foolish. 

At times when I blow it, and I occasionally still do, I go before the Lord and ask that He help me show honor and respect to my husband in abundance, not with a manipulative spirit, but to encourage and build him up.    

“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” 

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NASB)


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