What does a rebellious person look like to you? Feet planted wide, hands on hips, yelling in your face? That certainly is a possibility. If this is the stance your spouse takes toward you or toward others (like civil authorities or his or her boss), you can see how that would put a strain on your marriage. You’re afraid of making a request for fear of stirring up a conflict. You live in fear of the next traffic ticket or loss of job because they always must do things their way. But there is another, more insidious form of rebellion.
When I was a teenager, I started rebelling. My father had rules and restrictions. Lots of rules and restrictions. Even looking back on them now from the standpoint of an adult, I still think they were unreasonable, excessive, and unkind. But that’s not the point. God said I should obey my father, and I rebelled. I didn’t rebel loudly; I rebelled sneakily. I didn’t yell and become obnoxious. I kept quiet and did what I wanted undetected. I’m sure you’ve heard about the child who kept standing up in church until his parents made him sit down. He told his folks, “I may be sitting down on the outside, but I’m still standing up on the inside.” That child was me. The problem with a rebellious heart is that it doesn’t go away once the restrictions have been lifted, which is why it winds up hurting your marriage unless it is resolved.
Many years ago, Bob was interested in investing. He wanted me to track the investments on a daily basis. I didn’t want to. I dragged my feet. I never got around to it. Rather than having an honest discussion, expressing my position, and giving my input, I just didn’t do it because I didn’t want to rock the boat. Meanwhile, Bob was left wondering why the boat wasn’t going anyplace. Can you see how this passive-aggressive attitude would get in the way of genuine teamwork?
In the past, have you rebelled against people God has placed in authority over you? Is your heart still rebellious today? Ask God: “Lord, have I been rebellious in the past?” “Against whom?” “Do I still have a rebellious heart today?” “In what ways is this effecting my marriage?” If God brings a person or situation to mind, confess that rebellion as a sin and ask God to forgive you.
Rebellion is not an isolated word or deed. It is an attitude of the heart. As with any sinful attitude, when you bring it into your marriage, it will disrupt the beautiful “dance” God intends for you to have.