Here’s a question that takes some self reflection. Have you considered what it’s like to be married to you? Have you ever voiced one of these statements:
“If only I was married to someone who cares more about me! Life would be so much better.”
“It’s because of him (or her) that I act the way I do. I act like a totally different person with everyone else!”
“I know I have my own faults, but I’m not as bad as him (or her). He (or she) is the reason why our marriage is such a mess!”
Most of us go through times when we think such things. But have you considered… just how easy is it to be married to YOU?
Please prayerfully consider the weaknesses you personally contribute to your marital relationship. Perhaps this could be a wake-up call to action in some way. The following are a few questions to ask yourself (with additional statements that we have included):
• Do I speak to my spouse in a way that could be perceived by him or her as dishonoring and belittling?
(You may feel justified in speaking this way but the end result could be that your spouse will eventually avoid being with you. They might instead seek to be with others who don’t do this.)
• Do I give my full attention when my spouse is trying to communicate with me? Am I listening with my eyes, ears, and my heart when he or she is speaking? Or am I continually distracted so my spouse could perhaps feel that what he/she has to say is unimportant to me?
• Do I have a tendency to lecture or berate him/her, like some parents treat a “naughty” child?
• When I’m angry, do I explosively lash out so that he/she could feel assaulted?
(This could result in him or her shutting down emotionally from truly hearing what you’re trying to communicate.)
• If I’m honest, do I treat “outsiders” with more love and consideration than I do my own spouse?
• Do I use cutting humor with my spouse, saying, “I’m just kidding…” and yet he or she doesn’t think it’s funny? And do I do this publicly so my spouse feels all the more humiliated?
Also, in Self Reflection:
• Does my marriage “partner” complain that I act like I’m better than him or her?
(Is it possible that deep down, this may be true?) Think about it.
• Do I continually act irritable or are hypersensitive when I’m with him or her?
• Do I continually bring up things from the past —things he or she has asked for forgiveness previously?
(This can result in your spouse feeling that it’s hopeless that he or she will ever be able to escape past actions with you, no matter what he or she does.)
• Am I truly living a trustworthy life so my spouse doesn’t need to be concerned that I will violate his or her trust? And do you seek ways to show my trustworthiness?
(He or she may have a difficult time believing something they don’t see lived out by you.)
• 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 seek to be a peacemaker in your home? (See: Ephesians 4:3; Romans 12:18.)
• Do I protect my spouse’s feelings and dignity in how I speak and interact with him/her both in private AND out in public? (See: 1 Corinthians 13:7.)
• Do I reveal private matters, saying things about my spouse to others that he or she could perceive as hurtful?
• Have I become such a serious person that I rarely laugh and forget to put intentionality into infusing fun times into my marriage?
(Remember how you used to do that earlier in your relationship?)
• Do I make an effort to show that I value being married to him or her?
Additionally, ask yourself:
• Do I honor his/her communication “style”?
(Please read the article, What’s Your Communication Style. If you’re a good communicator and your spouse isn’t, do you run over him (her) with your words? This could leave him or her feeling stupid so he or she avoids “communication” times altogether. Just because you’re good with words and your spouse isn’t, it doesn’t mean he/she is wrong and you’re right.)
• Am I a negative person to live with?
• Do I look for ways to compliment and encourage my spouse?
• Do I receive your spouse’s compliments in positive ways so he or she doesn’t feel dismissed or discredited when he/she says nice things to me?
• Am I gracious when my spouse messes up in some way?
(If you do give grace whenever possible it’s easier for him or her to feel accepted and loved by you.)
• Can I honestly say that I try to make my marriage a better one? Do I show by my actions as well as my your words that I’m together in partnership with him or her?
So what do you think now? Just how easy are YOU to live with? Do you need to make some adjustments in how you interact in your marriage relationship? And here’s another question: have you lied about any of the answers you have given in response to those questions?
Self Reflection Concerning Your Faults
Certainly, your spouse may have many faults that you can point out, as well. But please consider that if you blame your spouse for your wrong actions. Do you participate in playing the same “blame game” that Adam did when God confronted him with wrongdoing? Adam replied, “It’s the woman you put here with me. She gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Even so, God didn’t consider Adam’s excuses to be valid. And the same goes for ours. God condemned Adam just as He did Eve. One’s person’s sin doesn’t excuse or wipe out the wrongness of what the other does.
If you feel convicted, we hope you’ll ask the Lord to help you work on your own issues. Work on your own “planks” that need to be removed. As admonished in the scriptures:
“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? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5)
“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone.” (John 8:7)
As you, and as we consider the spouse that WE are, may we individually pray:
“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)
May God help and guide us together in our marriage journeys,
Cindy and Steve Wright
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