It’s amazing to me how often the Lord will get my attention by defining two words. One is usually what I should be doing, and the other is what I tend to do left to myself.
Case in point: Differ or Defer
Differ - to disagree in opinion, belief, etc.; disagree
Defer – to submit to the opinion, wishes, or decision of another through respect or in recognition of his or her authority, knowledge, or judgment.
How often do you disagree with your spouse? If you’re honest and like most couples–probably on a daily basis. It’s not surprising since we are different, but we don’t have to constantly differ with them. To do so produces strife and all kinds of discontent.
When was the last time you willingly deferred to your spouse during a disagreement?
It is certainly the quickest way to end an argument, but not the easiest thing to do. Deferring is taking our will and making it bow to another. It places our spouse in a place of honor and trust when we may or may not want to honor or trust them. And it allows God space to do what only He can do–change your spouse’s perspective on a matter.
I have a personal example I want to share with you.
When the Lord recently directed me to cut back on the amount of time I spend posting, I quickly deferred to His will. When I shared it with Tom, he couldn’t agree more. He reminded me that he had been telling me this for a few months. <ouch>
Sadly, I didn’t remember. Why? Because I had chosen to differ with him thus disregarding his advice. On the other hand, Tom chose to defer to me waiting on God to open my eyes. Tom doing this wasn’t a lack of leadership on his part–as I might have thought in our earlier years together–he was trusting God to help me see what he knew was right all along. Rather than dig his heels in and make me defer, he chose to wait patiently for God to reveal it to me. This is what God-honoring leadership looks like. It chooses love over response, kindness over bearing down, trust over distrust, etc.
Another area where couples can often disagree is in the area of finances. You may want to do things one way, and your spouse prefers another. How do you come to a place of resolve? By deferring to the other and trusting God in the process.
If you are finding yourself in constant disagreement with your spouse, why not consider a different response? Try deferring to them and see what God does. You may be surprised when they come to you and share what God has just revealed to them! Then you can do what Tom did to me–kiss them and encourage them in how they’re listening to God. :-)