Today we’re going to do a post in the way our good friends do–Brad and Kate from the One Flesh Marriage blog. We’re using the format of He Said, She Said. Why? Because it is an important exclamation point to the significant work God did in Debi’s heart during this extended season in our marriage.
First, you’ll hear from me and then, Debi will finish with her closing thoughts. We have prayed earnestly for all who will read this series, that God will move in the hearts of marriages to mortify pride in all its forms and to help couples grow deeper in humility.
He (Tom) said,
Today I want to share with you how the Lord used me in the process of helping her. I wish I could say I saw this sin clearly and had been praying for God to reveal it to her for years, but I didn’t.
I wish I could say I purposed to overlook this sin in an effort to love her as Christ loved the church, but honestly, I didn’t. Well, I did overlook the sin when I saw it, but my love for Debi isn’t based on what she does for me or how she does it, for that matter. My love for her is based on the way Christ has loved me and gave Himself for me. I have been forgiven so much in my life that it is easy to extend loving forgiveness to her when what she does seems to pale in comparison to my offenses towards God.
When Debi confessed to me her list my first thought was, “You really think that way?” And secondly, “I never noticed this attitude in you.” The first caused her to cringed a bit when I shared it with her, but it was obvious God was doing a deep work in her heart because she didn’t react. I did the only thing I knew to do–I held her tight reassuring her of my commitment and love for her.
I have always known it isn’t my job to change Debi; my job is to listen and try to understand. Only God working in her heart can bring attention to sins she and I are blind to. I don’t know if I was blind to her sin because my love exceeded anything she could say or do, or if I was blind because I wasn’t leading her as I should. Debi assures me it was the former.
At any rate, I’m grateful for the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in her life and in mine. We aren’t who we were 33 years ago by God’s grace. And we thank God He isn’t finished with us yet. We are in daily need of His grace to mold us into the person and couple He wants us to be. Our only duty is to obey Him in faith and trust.
She (Debi) said,
I have never once doubted Tom’s love for me. This truth was never more evident to me as when I was going through the wringer of God’s convicting love.
I was raised in a Christian home. I, for the most part, lived my life without rebellion or gross sins, typical of many from my growing up years. Unfortunately this paved the way for me to grow in pride and self-righteousness, rather than gratefulness to God for protecting me so many times and in so many ways. I used to think it was me being strong, arrogantly missing the work of the Lord in my heart.
When God brought Tom and me together, the thing that attracted me most to him, besides his love for the Lord, was his sincere love for me. He was an unselfish, grateful man willing to do whatever he could to make me happy. I knew then what a gift he was. I know now how much I needed this kind of love to help me see my sin.
I often think of how Tom could have reacted to my confession and what this would have done to my fragile heart. He never belittled me or made me feel ashamed for my sin. Shame has a way of tearing down relationships in a way nothing else can. I was tempted to feel ashamed, but Tom’s reassuring love and kind encouragements quickly diffused those thoughts. (If you are suffering from shame either for something that happened before you were married or after, we encourage you to get help. A post that will help you can be found here.)
So, as we finish this series, if you’re the one battling besetting pride and self-righteousness, let your spouse into the process. Trust them to be exactly what you need to be free from this suffocating grip.
If you are the spouse married to one who is confessing sin, remember these Scriptures and allow God to strengthen you by them:
Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. – Proverbs 17:9 ESV
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. – 1 Peter 3:7 ESV (emphasis mine)
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. – 1 Peter 3:1-2 ESV (emphasis mine)
How have you helped your spouse in their fight against sin? Are you more of a help or a hindrance? God can work in you both according to His purposes, all we must do is ask and obey.