It was a typical Sunday. We enjoyed our Morning at the church where we have been members since its inception in 1985. Afterwards we enjoyed catching up with friends in the lobby and then went to lunch.
So far, so good!
We were getting ready for our marriage community group dinner at our home that evening, so I went to the grocery store to buy the meat so Tom could prepare for the meeting.
Still going well.
Then, it happened! I walked in the door to find Tom sleeping on the couch. My first thought, which I’m ashamed to admit, was I thought he was going to study and instead he’s resting.
How I wish I could tell you I rejected that thought, but I didn’t. I let it fester, which led to me waking him up abruptly wanting him to help me clean the house. After all, we were have our marriage group over, for goodness sake!
It only took a few more minutes to realize how unfair and critical I was being to Tom. He is not lazy. He works hard. So why was I so quick to judge and condemn him?
I believe it’s because we have an enemy who whispers in our ear the voice of accusation. Instead of believing the best I allowed such wicked thoughts to have an audience in my heart.
Tom didn’t react. He got up and helped me clean the house. The more he helped the worse I felt for being such a brat.
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1
I apologized for being so critical of him. I asked his forgiveness which he gave me. Then he asked a very important question…”Why do you think you were so quick to go there?”
I said, “When I walked in I expected you to be studying and instead you were sleeping. I assumed you hadn’t done what you said you were going to do.”
He replied, “I had already done what I needed and my eyes got heavy so I closed them to rest.”
Ugh! My heart is in such need of the transforming grace of Jesus Christ who willingly laid down His life so that I would no longer be a slave to such a critical spirit.
Gratefully, my sin is no match for God’s grace. He forgave me, Tom forgave me and now we have a fresh example to share with you as well as our marriage community group tonight of how not to treat your spouse.
In what ways are you tempted to not think the best of your spouse? How has this complicated your relationship?
My encouragement to you is to extend grace whether you’re on the giving end or the receiving end. We all need His grace to do this thing called marriage well. And you know what? God has provided all we need!
Thank you for sharing this. So often we think we should be there, we should’ve arrived, we should have it all figured out – but we’re human and prone to needing more growth and more grace, and it is encouraging to know that an long-time married couple such as yourselves still have these moments. Thank you!
Gives me hope that I’m not as lost as what I think I am, and having these moments can be used for my growth, and are perfectly within the realm of keeping it real when it comes to marriages. Thank you.
Yes, Barbara! That’s why I blog to give this kind of hope and help. Marriage is hard work but it’s dividends pay out for lifetime and beyond to those who know you. God is faithful and has promised to finish the work He’s begun in us. I love days when He gives me a glimpse of His progress in my life. Yesterday wasn’t one of them, but still just as important, for its after such days that I see my heart responding in ways I wouldn’t have a few years ago.
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I believe this is why God wanted me to share this slice of our life. Sure we’ve made a lot of progress, but we still do selfish things that hurt our spouse. The difference I’ve noticed is that conflicts like this would have lasted a week because Ton would have reacted and paid me back by the silent treatment. And I wouldn’t have apologized for a while, and most likely not sincerely. Growth is slow and steady and we can think we’re not changing at all until we look back a year and see how much we have changed. I so wish I had had someone telling me these things back then. This is why I’m sharing here–to provide hope and an example.
Blessings to you for sharing,
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I struggle with a critical spirit often – much like what you talked about above.I’m so glad I am not alone in this. For me, the enemy then loves to heap on guilt and shame when I realize I am in the wrong! I am so thankful for God’s grace – both his own and that which he gives to my husband! My heart is changing and I am getting better about this than I was in the early months of our marriage, but it is still a challenge to not let those thoughts fester and spill over into my actions. Thank you for your encouragement today!
Jessica, I know exactly how you feel. But be encouraged, we grow and change little steps at a time. It can seem like we’re not changing at all, but a year from now you’ll look back and see how far you’ve come. The fact that you see it is HUGE!