A while back my husband Steve and I attended an event where a retiring senator had the opportunity to speak to us. I’ve greatly admired this senator from afar. So it was a privilege to see him up close, plus, to hear from some people who know him very, very well privately. One of the things they said repeatedly about this senator is that he has both “public and private virtue.” What you see in front of the public is the way that he is in private. They said that he was a man who was and is “gracious” both publicly as well as privately.
Displaying Marriage Virtue
As I heard that, I thought how much that virtue is needed in marriage. We should display graciousness —giving each other grace, not only in public, but in private. And we should be people of integrity and politeness and show that we care. We should do this not only when others are looking, but when no one else but our spouse (and God) is present.
A long time ago, Steve and I came to realize that truth. It has changed how we treat each other (in positive ways), both in front of others and behind closed doors, when we’re alone. Why should we save our best behavior for others? And why should we treat one another, when we’re alone, as if our marriage partner doesn’t matter as much? What’s wrong with that picture? Are we as Christians all about show? When no one other than our spouse and God is looking, is it okay if we turn off our polite words and actions and become Mr and Mrs Negativity? No! God help us, if we do.
It’s not that everyone reading this blog has a wonderful spouse. I realize that many of you have spouse’s who really don’t “get it” as far as how to treat you as a marriage partner. And what a crying shame that is. My heart goes out to you—truly. It shouldn’t be so.
But please don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of thinking and acting out the behavior, that because your spouse does something wrong, that gives you the license to also behave in sinful ways. A marriage license is not a permit to sin even though your spouse does so.
Display Virtue, Integrity and Goodness
Please make sure that you are a person of integrity and grace. And make sure that you display both “public and private virtue,” within your marriage.
“Make every effort to add to your faith goodness. And to goodness, add knowledge. To knowledge, add self-control. And to self-control, add perseverance. To perseverance, add godliness. And to godliness, add mutual affection. And to mutual affection, add love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.” (2 Peter 1:5-9)
Remember what we are told in God’s Word:
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely. But he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” (Proverbs 10:9)
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.
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