“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24
Have you ever thought about what it might be like to be married to you? So often we don’t really stop and think about what our actions and attitudes are toward our spouse. We tend to think in terms of “this is the way I am, they have to love me” or “If they would treat me better I might treat them better.” Both of these thoughts are wrong. As discussed in How Should I Treat My Husband we learned that Scripture has a lot to say about how we are to treat one another, and those “one another’s” include our husband.
So in truth how I treat my spouse should have nothing to do with him. I am to be obedient to God and treat my spouse as God tells me. I think today we should ask ourselves a few questions about our actions and attitudes.
We should ask ourselves, “What is it like being married to me?” I challenge you to sit alone before the Lord as you pray through the following questions. Ask God to reveal those things in your life that aren’t honoring to your spouse or to your God. Confess whatever sinful ways God points out to you.
I ask that the Lord would help you work on your own issues — your own “planks” that need to be removed. This is a time to consider the weaknesses you personally contribute to your marital relationship. DO NOT use this time to point out your mate’s weaknesses, but go humbly and honestly before God and ask if there is any hurtful way in YOU and ME!
• Do I speak to my spouse in a dishonoring way so they feel belittled? (You may feel justified in speaking this way to them but the result could be that your spouse will eventually avoid being with you and instead seek to be with others who don’t belittle them the way you do.)Some of these questions are very difficult because my heart is convicted and I see that being married to me isn’t always a bed of sweet smelling roses. I have a lot of areas where I know that I need to treat my husband better.
•Do I give them my full attention when they’re trying to communicate with me? Do they feel that what they have to say is important to me? Or am I trying to multi-task?
•Do I have a tendency to lecture or berate them making them feel like a child?
•Do I lose my temper easily? When I am angry do my words tend to be words that could make them feel assaulted? (This could cause them to shut down mentally and emotionally from hearing what you’re trying to communicate.)
•Do I treat “outsiders” with more love and respect than I do my own spouse?
•Do I use cutting humor with my spouse, saying, “I’m just kidding…” and yet my spouse has shown they don’t think what I’ve said is funny? And do I do this in front of others so that my spouse feels humiliated?
•Am I patient with my spouse, bearing with his weaknesses?
•Does my marriage partner ever complain that I act like I am better than them (and deep down I think it’s true)?
•Do I often act irritable or are you hyper-sensitive in your thoughts and actions with them?
•Do I keep bringing up things from the past — things they’ve already asked forgiveness for? (This can result in their feeling that they’ll never be able to escape their past actions with you no matter what they do.)
•Am I living a trustworthy life so my spouse doesn’t need to be concerned that I will violate their trust in me? And do I find ways to show them my trustworthiness? Do I participate in anything that Christ would see as “deeds of darkness” which could bring unhealthiness into my marital partnership? (See: Ephesians 5:11)
•Do I try to be a peacemaker in my home? (See: Ephesians 4:3; Romans 12:18)
•Do I protect my spouse’s feelings and their dignity, in how I speak and interact with them, both when I am alone and when I’m with others? Do I say things about my spouse to others that could hurt their feelings and integrity?(See: 1 Corinthians 13:7)
•Have I become such a serious person that I rarely laugh or try to have fun times in our relationship – times like we used to have before we married?
•Do I make an effort to show that I value being married to them above anyone else?
•Am I a negative person to live with? Do I need to make more of an effort to be more positive in how I interact with my spouse so I don’t drag down their spirits also?
•Do I look for ways to compliment and encourage my spouse when I am alone as well as when I’m with others?
•Am I gracious to my spouse so that when they make mistakes they still feel accepted and loved by me?
•Do I actively participate in making me marriage a better one? Do I show by my actions as well as by my words that I am in partnership with them?
There are days it seems too difficult. I must remember that the Lord walks with me and strengthens me. Why is it so hard anyway? It would be nice if I could blame my husband. But I can’t, not because he is perfect, but because I recognize that at all times my actions and attitudes are to bring glory to God regardless of how others might treat me.
If my husband isn’t treating me the way he should it doesn’t give me the right to treat him in a bad way. Yes, that can be hard. I battle my flesh that says I want to give it right back to him. But God’s Spirit is at work in me and I truly desire to be the wife God is creating me to be.
So those times I fail, I MUST go to my husband to ask for his forgiveness…
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