Have you ever had it happen to you where God flashed small reminders within your mind that made positive differences when you did what God prompted? Those small reminders most likely prevented you from doing something stupid or sinful. That’s what happened to me today.
I was praying about what God would have us write about for this Marriage Insight. It wasn’t coming easy, by any means. But then God gave the idea to me this morning when I least expected it.
Early this morning Steve did something that angered me. I found myself on the onset of getting offended when the title of a book, that is a favorite of ours, came to mind. It’s titled, Unoffendable. I sensed that God was nudging me. The image of the front cover of that book even flashed into my mind. Instantly, I knew I was being prompted NOT to pick up that offense.
And then God took it a step further and brought to mind the picture of the “Be Kind” bumper sticker. Once again, I got the message. Yes, Steve did something that I could view as offendable. But God prompted me to be “Unoffendable” and then, if that wasn’t enough, He prompted me to “be kind.”
I knew that God was telling me that yes… Steve sometimes does offensive things. But I was reminded that I do offensive things too. I’m certainly not a perfect wife, just like he isn’t the perfect husband. And yet I want grace and forgiveness from him. Should I ask it from him and yet not give him the same benefit? I’m reminded of the scripture where we’re told in Colossians 3:13:
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
As I pondered all of this, here are a few small reminders that God brought to mind. They can make big differences IF we do what God prompts us.
First of Several Small Reminders
The first is:
BE (mostly) UNOFFENDABLE. Don’t be so quick to get offended. Quit picking up those small offenses and make big deals about them. Now, we’re not talking about biggies such as cheating, abusing, lying, and such. Those ARE big deals that need to be tended to in big ways. What we’re talking about is small, stupid things that we grab onto and get all upset about when in the big scheme of things, they really aren’t that important.
We’re told in the Bible:
“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11)
Another Small Reminder or Prompt
The second, of those small reminders to pay attention to—is:
BE KIND. Too often spouses do things that can push us towards doing or saying things that are anything but being kind! Sometimes they do stupid things unintentionally (just as we do). And other times their intentions are anything but honorable (again, just like us). But no matter what they do or don’t do, it doesn’t excuse our bad behavior. That’s when we have important choices to make. We can respond God’s way, or join our spouse in going the stupid route. The choice is ours to make.
That doesn’t mean that we can’t respond in doling out tough love to our spouse sometimes, when it’s needed. But it does mean that we can still be kind in the way we deliver it. We can be strong, under control, and yet kind. In Ephesians 4:31-32, we’re told:
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
We’re also told in Ephesians 4:29-30:
“Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
Those scriptures give us a whole lot of simple reminders that are hard to do; but this is what God expects of us.
Small Reminders We Need
Another one of those simple reminders is:
STOP IT! The best way we can explain that one is by directing you to a funny video that sums it all up very well! It’s great counsel; although it’s tough to do. Watch the following video and see what you think:
Yes, we know this “advice” is really, really frank. But it sure is true! Actually, God has yelled “stop it” in my mind sometimes when I’ve needed to do just that. Has He done that for you?
When we want to be unkind, we need to stop it. When we want to hold onto bitterness, or talk “corrupt talk” we need to stop it!
Here are a few ways God gives us simple reminders to “Stop It” in the Bible:
“Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46)
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” (Romans 12:9)
In other words, Stop It! When you are tempted to do that, which is wrong …DON’T. Stop it when God prompts you NOT to do it. And Stop it when what you are doing is not good and does not reflect the love of Christ.
Another Simple Reminder
Here’s one more of those simple reminders God placed upon our hearts. It’s one that God has whispered in my own ear quite a few times. (He has told this to Steve too at different times.) Perhaps you’ve heard God prompting you in this way too. Here it is:
DON’T GO THERE. Now, we’re not talking about not going to a physical location—although it could include that reminder, as well. We need to protect our marriages physically (not visiting certain places and people). But we must protect our marriages mentally, as well.
What we’re talking about here involves not letting our MINDS go down certain toxic thought trails. We should not allow our minds to fruitlessly nurse, and rehearse certain thoughts—allowing them to take us places we shouldn’t visit or revisit. It’s important to note that what we feed will grow. And certain thoughts should not be fed. We should do what you can to stop thoughts that are harmful and toxic to our marriage. Don’t go there! Find something else to focus on instead.
I’ve used this simple reminder at times when I want to feel sorry for myself. Sometimes, I’m tempted to nurse a hurt to the point that it just isn’t healthy or loving. Other times I start to think negatively about my husband or another person. But then I start to take it a step further so that I feed the negative, rather than the positive. On this issue, two scriptures come to mind.
Apply these scriptures when you are tempted to go down toxic thought trails. We’re told in Philippians 4:8:
“…Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.“
God reminds us of this scripture often when we start going down a negative trail in our thoughts that will lead to no good. It’s easy to head down that trail in marriage. But nip it instead. Don’t go there. Flee! Stop it! Do what you can to starve those types of thoughts. Replace them instead with others that will be helpful, right, and admirable.
This second scripture comes from 2 Corinthians 10:5:
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.“
That’s what we’re supposed to do. We are to destroy arguments within our minds that are caustic and go against Christ’s ways of thinking about each other. We are also supposed to destroy “lofty” or prideful opinions that come to mind that would not please God. What’s that scripture? “Pride comes before a ….” Don’t feed the thoughts that you shouldn’t. Don’t allow yourself to go there!
Be unoffendable. Don’t pick up stupid offenses. Be kind (even when you have tough stuff to discuss). Stop it (when you’re going down the stupid route in your thoughts and/or actions)! And to help you before you head that way, head this small warning… don’t go there! Put your backup lights on in your brain, turn around, and go into a healthier direction.
Please know that we realize all of these small reminders sound simple. However, we also know that they are not! We confess that we stumble over these marriage tips ourselves sometimes. But the goal is to fall forward and pay better attention when we’re tempted NOT to fall the next time! We hope you’ll join us in this mission.
As you work to make your marriage reflect the love of Christ:
“May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” (2 Peter 1:2)
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below to do so:
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2 responses to “Small Reminders Can Make Big Differences”
I’m heading the Marrieds Department in our Church. I’m interested in partnering with Marriage Missions International. Our Church is in Uganda. At an opportune time we would in future like to exchange visits. I will appreciate continuity in sharing.
Hi, James. Cindy and I are thrilled to learn that your church has established a Marrieds Department. Oh how we wish every church in the world would follow your lead and do this. We know that the divorce rate in the Christian church would drop dramatically…possibly be eliminated…if they did so.
Unfortunately Cindy and I are no longer traveling internationally due in part to financial constraints. However, we make available to you, and all churches, anything from our web site that you feel can help you in your outreach and instruction of the couples in your congregation. We know there are many churches across Africa that use our weekly Marriage Insights that we e-mail out. Couples will subscribe to them and then once a week they’ll have a discussion group that meets to talk about the content. If any of your couples would like to subscribe to begin receiving our free weekly Insight just have them send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are also giving you permission to use anything you find on our web site that you want to print and copy to help you in your ministry to couples. Go into TOPICS and start exploring everything. Then, when you find an article you want to use scroll to the bottom and on the left hand side you will see “Print Post.” All we ask is that you distribute the articles free of charge and give attribution that they came from Marriage Missions International.
We hope this helps you, James, help the couples in your church to have strong marriages that will honor Christ. Blessings!