Yielding Your “Rights”
In last week’s post, we saw that we all enter marriage with certain expectations. Expectations aren’t problematic unless we start claiming them as our “rights.” And when our “rights” are violated, we get angry. We defend, blame, or hold the anger in. So, how do you get past the feeling that your spouse is taking advantage of your inherently good nature and stepping on your “rights”?
Identify the violation
We first heard the concept of yielding your rights more than 40 years ago. Step 1 is to identify the right you feel was violated. For example, do you have a desire to eat out once a week? There’s nothing wrong with that. Do you feel you have a right to eat out once a week? If your spouse resists the idea, do you get angry, feel slighted, or start pointing out how you are always willing to accommodate them? Or, perhaps the hurt goes a little deeper. Your spouse does not respect the belongings that are precious to you and anger starts burning under the surface. If this is ringing true, ask God to help you identify the expectations and desires you have claimed as “rights” that you feel are being violated.
Give it to God
Step 2 may sound a little odd, but think about it: Give the “right” to God whether the “right” is possessions or time or whatever it involves. You may have a desire to eat out once a week, but it’s not a right. This doesn’t mean you can’t express your desire to your spouse or negotiate a settlement that is agreeable to both of you. But don’t claim you have a right. You may feel your spouse is not giving your thoughts, opinions, and feelings due consideration. Well, they should. But it’s still not a right. Give it to God and see what he will do.
Commit to thanking God
Step 3 is to propose to thank God no matter what the outcome. God may very well test your sincerity by allowing your “right” to be misused. This will give you the opportunity to show you mean business. It also gives God the opportunity to use the situation for His glory—whether that means maturing your spiritual heart or allowing your spouse to see a genuine, new, (and hopefully inspirational) attitude in you. You also allow God to defend His right. Watch and see what God will do for you once you stop insisting on having it your way.
Next time you are disappointed that your spouse doesn’t want to take you to a restaurant for date night, pause and remember that going out is a desire, but not a right. You gave that “right” to God to use as He sees fit. Thank God that He has provided food for you to eat at home. Watch for the opportunities God provides and for how He changes and improves you. Thank Him if he throws in a “bonus.”
We need to focus on God’s gifts to us. Perspective is crucial. It is important to remember that they are gifts and not rights. All the rights belong to Him. With that firmly in mind, see if the anger meter goes down and the gratitude meter goes up at your house.