Last week’s post started with “3 Ways to Kill Your Marriage” and ended with a promise that this week would focus on breathing life into your marriage. In many cases, we make a choice. We either chose the road of valuing things over the people in our life, hiding our real self, being unfaithful (or clinging to other sins) or we say, “I’m going to make a difficult but better choice in order to breathe life into my marriage.”
Biblical principles that guide us in all our relationships also help us when applied specifically to marriage. Let’s look at three examples.
1. First, take the log out of your own eye. (Matthew 7:5)
It’s easy to see the error of your spouse’s ways, isn’t it? They leave their dirty dishes in the sink after you just cleaned their last batch of dirty dishes. They buy the special items they want but think your purchases are extravagant. They just talk and don’t listen.
It’s a little harder to see your own faults. And yet, Jesus tells us, “. . . first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5 NASB)
You might be cleaner, and more frugal, and a better listener. But, let’s face it, you’re not perfect. Don’t take my word for it, ask God. As you read God’s Word, ask Him how you measure up. Maybe then the speck in your spouse’s eye won’t look so big. We can guarantee it will help the conversation if you go into it with a humble attitude.
2. Tell the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15)
Tell the truth. But you must do it in love. It’s a hard balance to strike. My inclination is to smile and get along. But in the 70s, confronting sin was a big deal in Christian circles. I had one friend I confronted a lot. One day she told me she was becoming afraid to come near me because she knew I would have something critical to say about her. I’m glad she told me. I was way out of line.
So how do you find the balance between saying what needs to be said and saying it in love? This is my guideline: If I can’t wait to “let the other person have it,” I probably shouldn’t say it. If I don’t want to have to say anything but feel it needs to be said, I probably should say it.
Apply this principle to your marriage. Are you always laying a barrage of complaints on your spouse? Do they tense up when they see you coming? As a loving spouse, it is your responsibility to point out the blind spots, but think—and pray—through how you can point them out gently.
3. Don’t repay evil for evil. (I Peter 3:9a)
Your spouse says something that hurts your feelings and the temptation is to say something mean back. Your spouse reneges on a promise and you want to get them back. Repaying evil for evil does not help your marriage. The verse goes on to say, “not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead.” Process that for a minute. You mess up and your spouse responds with grace and understanding. How does that make you feel? Is your marriage better or worse for it? When your spouse disappoints you, embarrasses you, or hurts your feelings, you have a choice to make. You can return evil for evil or you can give a blessing instead.
Your choice—and all your choices—will either kill your marriage or breathe life into it.
You can find more Biblical answers to many of your marriage questions in our book The Marriage Dance, available at Amazon. The helps in this marriage blog as well as weekly marriage tips are available to you for FREE by signing up on our website here. (We will never share your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.)
This article first appeared on our blog on February 1, 2017.