here we were in the middle of one of the biggest fights we had had in a long time. Tensions were rising. Hurtful words were said. And I was desperately clutching to my pride. I feel things incredibly deeply… I think more deeply than most people. So when I begin to go down this road, resentment and bitterness set in quickly. And the longer I stay in this space, the longer it takes to step away from my judgemental, self-entitled attitude.
In the middle of these times, I feel so justified in my anger and my innocence. My pride makes it difficult for me to accept responsibility for where I have been wrong. My brain begins functioning one-dimensionally, only being able to see MY side and how I was wronged. I can completely lose sight of my marriage and my husband. I fight for myself rather than for unity or my marriage.
It can be so easy to focus on where our spouse isn’t measuring up. And this can be a mindset that we cling to out of pride. It’s also much easier to focus on where they’re wrong, rather than confronting our own sin. If we aren’t vigilant, this perspective can filter into the fibers of our marriages, breeding a permanent characteristic of self-centeredness. While it may be easier to focus on their sin and where they aren’t contributing, this is destructive to a marriage.
We all have sin and struggles that we need to work through. And that’s okay. With that being said, we do have a responsibility to work on our individual mess so that we can be the best husband or wife that we can be.
But how do we do that?
- Remember that the enemy wants to keep your focus on your spouse’s inadequacies
- Know that, ultimately, we are only in charge of ourselves
- Ask the hard questions
- Seek and Submit
- Fiercely Fight God’s way
We have said this over and over, but it is such an important concept to grasp. Your spouse is NOT your enemy. The enemy is the devil, and the perspective needs to be both of you, as a team, against him. He wants your marriage to fail. If he can keep you clinging to your pride, and if he can keep you in the blame game, he can render you ineffective and then his job is complete. Don’t allow the enemy to win here. Assume responsibility, humble yourself, and fight for your marriage rather than yourself.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” – Matthew 7:3
While there may very well need to be boundaries set or sin addressed, we are still only in charge of ourselves. We can’t force our spouse to act the way we think they should. Your job isn’t to be their Holy Spirit. That’s God’s job. Our job is to confess with our heart and our words where we have sinned against our spouse. We need to take responsibility and be above board as far as it depends on us. This isn’t easy and can go against the very nature of our desires, but this is what leads to healing and reconciliation.
We need to ask ourselves where WE are wrong, where WE might have unfair expectations, where WE are taking something out on our spouse, or where WE might be triggered by past experiences. Not only do we need to ask the hard questions, but we need to accept the convicting answers. Asking the hard questions about where we are wrong (and where we can grow) brings self-awareness. Being actively aware of our struggles and our sin will help us to clothe ourselves with a gentle and humble spirit.
It has been said that Jesus is the answer to a fulfilling, lifelong marriage, but what does that actually mean? Jesus being the answer doesn’t mean attending church, the act of going to bible study, or using “Christian” phrases. While those are all good things, doing the “right” thing or being perceived as doing the “right” thing isn’t following Jesus. Honestly, when we just put up appearances to look like we have it all together, we keep Jesus at arm’s length. We don’t need to be afraid of rejection with God; we are fully known and fully loved with our mess and our baggage. He wants to be in the thick of the struggle with us. He wants to meet us in the fullness of our pain and our hurt.
Keeping Him at the center means fully investing our heart into who Jesus is and completely submitting to His will. When we cling to His grace and provision, fully entrusting our life to Him, He will shape us to be more like Him and more into the husband or wife He calls us to be.
Keeping Him at the center also means doing so now, not when we have ourselves together and we’ve fixed everything wrong with us. It’s not about being perfect when we approach Him, but rather approaching Him so that He can make us more like Himself.
While pride will be met with bitterness and division, humility will be met with reconciliation and redemption.
The question really comes down to whether you trust God and His way of doing marriage? Are you ready for a beautiful marriage done God’s way? I’m not saying it will be easy, but it will be worth it.
We all need to self-assess and be aware of where our issues and struggles might be negatively impacting our marriage. If you want to find strategic steps you can take to become your best self so that you can be the best husband or wife for your marriage, join us in Radiant Marriage Academy, a 12-month course designed to help you set your marriage on a solid biblical foundation.
Is there a place in your marriage where you need to put your pride in check and assume responsibility?