I talked last week in “An Un-Canonized Psalm of Anger” about my responsibility to rebuke my husband’s sin in love. I am so thankful that the Lord has taught me that I also have to be willing be rebuked for my own sin.
I have previously referenced the study on settingcaptivesfree.com and the Biblical Counselor I see. They both encouraged me to ask my husband for insight of the sin I bring to our marriage, specifically in the area of respect.
I am so thankful for those nudges. It is encouraging and attractive when my husband lovingly calls me out for my sin. It shows me that he is taking his responsibility seriously as the leader in our marriage. Beyond that, I know it is difficult for him to do. It shows his ability to lean on the strength of the Lord in his weakness, caring more about the the purposes God has for him than the fear of man (me).
Most interesting in our honest conversations has been our different views of what respect actually is. I made assumptions about what I thought made him feel respected, all the while continuing in other patterns that were destructive to his spirit.
It breaks my heart as I share these examples... Although I may have seemed submissive to my husband’s decisions for our family, my attitude was not always respectful. He would often feel that his opinion was not valued or was lesser than mine. I have talked to him as I would our children. He did not feel as though I needed him because of my independent nature. I have failed to be present with him when he has things to discuss because my mind is whirling with “more important tasks.” I can be defensive when he is not trying to offend me. In his struggles with failure - real or perceived - I am embarrassed to say that I have failed countless times to speak truth and encouragement when he needed it most. Yikes!
There is Hope
According to Ephesians 4, I do not have to act in this sinful way, with a hardened heart. Jesus is my salvation and my example. Because of his grace I have been given a new heart. I can take off my old self, which is corrupt by deceitful desires and put on my new self. A new self with a renewed mind, made in the likeness of God. This new self is righteous and holy!
Questions to Consider
If you find yourself in an unhealthy (or even healthy) marriage, these are some great questions to cultivate honest conversation and create opportunity to grow.
Pray before you start a reflective conversation with your spouse. Ask God to allow you to have ears that are quick to listen, a mouth that is slow to speak and a heart that breaks for the ways you may have hurt him. Sit across from your spouse without the distraction of kids, cell phones or the tv.
1. In what ways do you feel most respected by me?
2. In what ways am I disrespectful to you (verbally and non-verbally)?
3. How have I been an encouragement to you in your walk with Christ?
4. How can I be more encouraging and supportive to you so that our marriage can glorify God?
Lastly, if you are convicted by your sin, repent to your husband and to God, asking for their forgiveness. Then do something to change. Start praying for help daily from the Holy Spirit. Plan to do or say at least one thing a day that is encouraging to your husband. Post a verse somewhere that helps to remind you of your purposes in marriage. Here are a few to get you started - Proverbs 21:19; 1 Corinthians 13:4-5; Proverbs 31:12; James 1:19; 1 Peter 3:3-5; Ephesians 5:33.
I am sorry for my selfish heart and my self-righteous attitude. Please forgive me for the way I have poorly represented you in my marriage. I pray that you would deepen my understanding of how harmful my disrespect really is to my husband and how dishonoring it is to you. Remind me again and again that it is not something he has to earn, but rather a standard that you call me to.
Thank you that I do not have to live as a slave to my sin any more than my husband does. You are the one that renews us in the spirit of our minds.
Keep me from giving opportunity to the devil to destruct our marriage. Let us be an example of Christ to each other first and as a result to the world. Show me how to keep loving my husband as you love him Lord.
Thankful to be in the Round,
Please stop back on Fridays for more about Erin's story and what God is doing in her marriage.
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."