I had looked everywhere, but I couldn’t find it. And I was starting to panic.
We were running late (because, let’s face it, that’s life with six kids), and I had to have it.
Exasperated, I growled at my husband.
Even though he may not have even been around.
Okay, so he nowhere near. Not in the house. Or in the yard. Or even in the neighborhood.
He was at work, plowing away (at a desk, lest you mistake me for a farmer’s wife) to provide for his family. But I just knew my dilemma was all his fault, with his I-don’t-know-what-this-pile-is-but-I’m-tired-of-looking-at-the-mess-so-I’ll-just-trash-it habits.
I fired off an angry text. I don’t remember what it said, but it was probably something like, “I cannot stand it when you throw my stuff away. Just because something’s not important to YOU doesn’t mean it’s NOT IMPORTANT!”
(I know this because I may have said something like this before…once or twice. Ahem.)
Am I the only one who sometimes doesn’t give my husband the benefit of the doubt? Who can tend to assume the worst about the man to whom I’ve pledged my love and faithfulness? Who at times treats my God-given partner worse than I treat anyone else I know?
Hey, who am I kidding? I can treat him worse than complete strangers!
Friends, this ought not be so.
Yet I’m ashamed to say that there are times when I treat my husband worse than anyone else on the planet (including my dog).
I don’t know if you’re like me, but I’m wondering…
how does this happen?
There are probably as many answers as there are married couples in the world, but I have some ideas about my own reasons:
Because I feel like it. I know it makes me sound like a preschooler, but it’s true. And I kind of think many of us operate based on our feelings way more than we recognize. The truth is, in the heat of those irritated, overwhelmed, fed-up feelings, it feels good to blame someone else. Even when they don’t deserve it.
Because I’m caught up in my own rights. This is another way of saying I’m selfish. Too often, my thoughts are centered around my needs, my desires, my schedule, and my agenda. With my mind wrapped so tightly around myself, I can start to assume my husband should place me at the center of his thoughts, too. Not only is that unfair; it’s sinful.
Because I’m using the wrong standard. In this “information age” in which we find ourselves, we’ve never been more aware of what other people are thinking, feeling, and doing. And I’m starting to see that this normalizes bad behavior. The marriage models we see on TV, Facebook, the news media, movies, and Pinterest present the normal marriage. And when my own experience matches the “normal” I see portrayed virtually everywhere, I don’t have much reason to feel too bad about it.
But here’s the thing…since when were Christ-followers like you and me called to “normal”? We were called to extraordinary. We were called to impossible! We were called to lives and relationships that are so radical, the only possible explanation is God.
So how do we develop an extraordinary marriage that is living proof of an extraordinary God?
Let’s dig a little deeper than the obvious (but important) “husbands love/wives submit” commands in the Bible. God’s Word gives us lots of guidance about how to treat people. I think we just need to start remembering that our husbands are people. A good place to start is with the “one another” commands in the Bible. Here are a few:
Prefer one another. (Romans 12:10)
Submit to one another. (Ephesians 5:21)
Be kind to one another. (Ephesians 4:32)
Bear with one another. (Colossians 3:13)
Encourage one another and build each other up. (I Thessalonians 5:11)
Forgive one another. (Ephesians 4:32)
Don’t complain against one another. (James 4:11)
Seek good for one another. (I Thessalonians 5:15)
Serve one another. (Galatians 5:13)
Think of one another as better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
How much better would our marriages be if we began implementing even a few of these? If we stopped viewing these commands as applicable solely to our fellow church members, neighbors, and coworkers, and started seeing how they apply to our husbands?
And what if we stopped putting conditions on our obedience?
Even when we don’t feel like it.
Even when it’s hard.
Even when it seems no one else is living this way.
Because a Christ-following life is an obedient life. And an obedient life is one of stewardship. Marriage is a relationship entrusted by God for a purpose. This sacred trust must be tended carefully and guarded fiercely — whether those enemies attack from without…or from within.
May God grant us the grace to be faithful stewards of our marriages, that He might receive glory through them!
Curious about the rest of the “one another” commands in the Bible? Check out this excellent resource which lists all of them in an easy-to-read graphic!