Do you treasure your marriage? Or are you having a difficult time seeing it as a treasure?
“I’ve met many women [and we’ve met many men] who don’t realize what a treasure their marriage is until it’s stolen from them. STOLEN HOW, you may wonder? Marriages are stolen by our comparisons —our endless wishing that things might somehow be different, more romantic than they actually are. Marriages are stolen by our lack of appreciation. As women [and also as men], we often focus on what isn’t being done, rather than on all that is being done and done well, if we’re truly honest.” (Cindy Dagnan, from her article “In Search of the Perfect Husband”)
Isn’t that the truth? We plead guilty of that oversight. Too often we focus on the ways our spouse “stumbles” instead of how we stumble. (See James 3:2, which tells us we ALL stumble.) Sometimes we need correction, and sometimes we just need grace. But most often we need to try to view our spouse as God sees them. Otherwise this “treasure” can be stolen.
Allowing Treasure of Marriage to be Stolen
Here’s the thing; the enemy of our faith is called a thief, and a liar, and is continually trying to get us to believe things that aren’t true. And one of the things we too often allow to be stolen from us, is the view that our spouse is a gift from God to help us to become more like Christ. God can use our spouses to not only bless our lives but also to smooth down our rough edges.
When we allow our eyesight to become focused on the negative we most often don’t see the positive and acknowledge it. We don’t realize that it’s important to encourage each other so we “spur” one another on to “love and good deeds.”
The Bible says in Ephesians 4:29:
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Think about the things you said to your spouse today and/or yesterday. Was your “talk” wholesome? Did it benefit him or her and those who may be around you as they listened? Keep in mind:
“Words have the power to build empathic bridges between partners, and words also have the power to hurt and create a wasteland of distance between you. Choose your words wisely.” (Richard Nicastro, PhD)
Choose your words wisely for each other’s sake; but also for others who overhear how you talk to each other.
Confronting in Love
That doesn’t mean you can’t be truthful and confrontational. But was it truthful and “spoken in love” where your motivation was to help your spouse and help your marital partnership?
The Bible says (in Galatians 6), “If someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
And then there’s the temptation to be prideful when our spouse does something “wrong” and we feel proud and think, “at least I didn’t do that!” But is that an attitude, which God would want you to hold on to? The Bible also says in Galatians 6:3-7:
“If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself without comparing himself to somebody else, for each should carry his own load… Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”
So here are a few questions that come to mind: Are you allowing the treasure of your marriage to be stolen by “comparison?” Are you comparing your actions with your spouse’s and feeling prideful because of it? Or, maybe you’re comparing your marriage to someone else’s. And then that leads you to coveting what they have. If so, that can cause big trouble!
Are you allowing your marriage to be robbed of being people, who “give thanks in every situation” knowing that God can “work good” even out of that, which appears to be bad on the surface?
Are you looking so intently at the “speck” in your spouse’s eye that you over-look the “log” in your own? Is it possible you are forgetting the Matthew 7:3 principles?
Our pastor said in a message recently that he confessed to his family that he realized he minimizes the “logs” in his own way of looking at things. He goes right past them to point out the “specks” others have in their vision of reality.
Ouch! When we thought about that, we realized that we’re each guilty of the same thing. How about you? Is your view of your spouse’s good habits less visible because of what you choose to focus on as you look past your own bad habits?
The Treasure of Marriage
But what can you do if you don’t view your (non-abusive) marriage as a treasure? Many spouses are, no doubt, living in very difficult circumstances in their marriages.
We don’t know if you are or you aren’t. But we do know that many (not all) spouses are living that way because of the way they view and interact with their husband/wife. And there is something that can be done about that to start to turn their marriage relationship in a positive direction.
Here’s a question for you: What if you can only see the negative standing in the way of any good that could be hidden underneath? Here’s what Brad and Heidi Mitchell advise:
“If you struggle to see your spouse as your ‘treasure,’ then begin with a prayer like this: ‘Father, please open my eyes to see and appreciate anew all of the wonderful things you see in my mate. Help me to dwell on the good. And help me to learn to love them with the love that you’ve shown me through Jesus. Amen.’ In fact, that would be a great prayer for all of us who are married to pray every day! Try it and see what God does in your heart.” (From the article, “Treasure Your Spouse”)
Praying in this way may help us to make our marriage more of a priority. And then we can treasure it as God would have us.
As Cindy Dagnan also said (which applies to this Marriage Insight),
“Not putting our marriage at the top of our earthly priority list is a mistake we cannot afford to make. Now that we can admit that our marriage is a treasure and gift from God [“He who finds a wife finds a good thing.” Proverbs 18:22], what can we do so it won’t lose its luster?”
That’s a good question that each of us should ask God to help us to answer.
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:
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