Tuesday, October 2, 2007

my spidey senses tell me ...

Mike and I were watching Spiderman III with some friends this weekend and I think we were making donkeys of ourselves cuz Mike kept piping up ... "Ugh! He's not LISTENING to her! Dude! Don't give her ADVICE ... she needs CUDDLES!" (I can honestly say that I am well-cuddled.)

Me: "If you've got relationship issues, don't go hang out with your best guy pal. You'll end up KISSING him!" (I was right.)

It is easy when newly married to assume you are an expert on all things pertaining to love and ignore your own issues. Mike and I goof up but I will say that both of us are sensitive to the other's needs and are determined to make things right.

In the film M.J. did not feel Peter Parker listened to her or valued her feelings. She became quiet and internalized her disappointment. With the tension building, she sought release in a guy friend.

It's so easy to give your husband the silent treatment.

Mike can tell you that I often become silent. He's learned to read my face. When I think that I have successfully planted a blank expression on my countenance, he points out that it's my angry face. (I should really practice in a mirror.)

But I'm not silent to punish Mike.

If I'm quiet or reserved more often than not I am thinking of my own sin. And what I personally can do to make the situation better. I'm not in a bad mood. I'm just concerned. I may not even be able to communicate my thoughts much less what it actually is that is bothering me at that point.

Mike, longing to right any wrongs, is quick to list off possible reasons I might be troubled. No ... no ... no ... yes, maybe, I suppose you're right.

Then we are able to work through the problem. We apologize to each other for specific wrongs we've done to each other and come up with a concrete plan to fix the situation. Too often people merely say "Sorry" and leave it at that. What are you sorry for? What will you do to make it right?

It's not my job to play the Holy Spirit for Mike nor is it his responsibility to play the role for me. I made the decision before I got married that I will not nag Mike. Many commentors have balked at my choice to not make my blog a venue to reprimand husbands for their failures.

Are you the type who apologizes by saying, "Honey, because you've been such a hard person to live with and because of your many bad habits, I have not been a good wife."?

Can you not recognize your own sin?

Linda Dillow, author of Creative Counterpart admonishes wives to :
  1. Learn to totally accept your husband. You, too, are a sinner. Christ accepted you.
  2. Get rid of the plank in your own eye.
    Matthew 7:3-5 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
  3. Give your rights to God.
    Ruth Graham wrote: I pity the married couple who expect too much from one another. It is a foolish woman who expects her husband to be to her that which only Jesus Christ can be: always ready to forgive, totally understanding, unendingly patient, invariably tender and loving, unfailing in every area, anticipating every need, and making more than adequate provision. Such expectations put a man under an impossible strain.
  4. Discern positive qualities.
    Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
  5. Ask your husband's forgiveness.
    Matthew 5:23-24 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
  6. Verbalize your acceptance. -
    Ephesians 5:33 (Amplified) And let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband--that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates and esteems him: and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly!"
For those who desire to speak the truth in love to your spouse if you know he is in sin, I recommend part III of The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. The entire section is about submission. We know our husbands are imperfect (and so are we), so how can we as women who long to honor the Word of God in all areas of our life respond to the sin in our husbands' lives and yet maintain a disposition of respect?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Whilst I think it is amazing Christine and Mike that God seems to have blessed you both immensely in your marriage I know for me it is not always that easy...

Whilst my husband and I would love to always read each other right or respond in the right manner it doesn't always happen.

To go through the steps you have mentioned (great godly steps to reconciliation)is not always that straight forward for me. My sinful nature means that anger, upset, hurt feelings, stubborn-ness sometimes override my desire to want to go through those steps, I realise this isn't the ideal but it is what it is.

I find it incredibly difficult to say sorry and I know I am not the only one. This is something that during our marriage I have been able to work on in God's strength and it is improving...

I think it is fantastic that even though only early on in your marriage God has given you both a great attitude towards your marriage and you are modelling great character, but this isn't the case for every marriage.

I also think that your family circumstances and upbringing can have an unbelievable effect on how you relate and deal with conflict.

I just want people to know that it can be tough but God can and does work through us in those areas if we ask him to grow us and shape us to be more like Christ. I am certainly not perfect when it comes to conflict and other situations in my marriage but with God's help I hope to continue to grow.

Marriage is certainly a gift from God, it isn't always easy but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Jenna said...

Great post!
Funny, I totally expect all of those things Ruth Graham wrote from my husband. J/K!! I know he's not perfect, and the more I embrace him along with his imperfections, the better off we both are.

Goodness,I totally know where anon is coming from! Been there, done that...And still do it. Oh, but my heart yearns to be more like Christ!

This is what my husband and I do regarding points 4 and 6, and it has helped our marriage immensely! Under the encouragement of a friend, we began to do a few "exercises" together every night. One of which was that each of us must look the other in the eye and genuinely tell the other two things that they appreciate about them. And the one being appreciated is allowed to say nothing but "thank you." So we each share two things. This is very uplifting, and more than that, I am constantly on the lookout for the good in my husband because I know I'll be sharing those things with him each night! Helps me keep my mind focused on the positive things he does and is!

This is going to sound simplistic, but in answer to your ending question...I can respond correctly to my husband's sin when I have my eyes focused on the Lord and not on my surrounding circumstances. When my eyes are on Him, I can believe the Truth of His Word - all things will work for good, He is faithful, I am forgiven, my husband is forgiven, the Lord has a perfect plan, etc. We have weathered some deep hurts, but with my eyes fixed on Christ ALL things are possible!

ckjolly said...

Two friends of mine who are getting married soon wrote this:

"Weddings and entering marriage are often thought of, and spoken of in heaven like language. “Happily ever after”. Marriage can be seen as the great goal and destination in life and a secure permanence and belonging. Entering a state of blessedness or bliss. Even the Bible talks a bit about the goodness of marriage (Prov. 5:18-19; 12:4; 18:22, 19:14; 31:10) We hope to have joy in marriage, but we're not placing upon it expectations that only heaven and God will meet. Our hope is heaven – of knowing God, his kindness and forgiveness now and forever."
They then went on to say that Marriage is also often equated with hell.

read more here

For them, they recognize that marriage is not THE END but it is a means by which God uses to make them holy.

fional said...

BTW I really like the layout of the indented, coloured detail under each item - with rows faintly drawn. How does one do such things!?! Probably one doesn't on old-school blogger.

ckjolly said...

anon - i apologise for my response. it was laced in arrogance. i'm sorry

Anonymous said...

Christine,

I'm not married but have been in a
relationship for about 6 months and we are discussing marriage next Spring.

Anyway, this is something I've struggled with much lately--finding myself ultra-critical of his sin and faults while ignoring my own. Arrgh--it makes neither of us happy nor encourages holiness, truly is fruitless.

I appreciate your thoughtful tips--I actually had to apologize just yesterday for my sinful critical spirit. So, I just wanted to thank you for your honesty and posting these blog-God has used it in my life :)

Thanks,
Melissa

Anonymous said...

Thanks Christine. I thought you made a couple of fair points.

Anonymous said...

my spidey senses tell me that another awesome christine blog could be in order

Laura said...

Weird, anon. My spidey senses are telling me the same thing.