Today’s marriage tip from our new book, Cherishing Us, reminds us of the benefit there is in deferring to our spouse.
March 13: Defer to your spouse as much as you are able. This is good for your marriage and good for your fight against selfishness.
Deference is defined as humble submission and respect. In what ways have you practiced deference in your marriage?
Maybe your spouse wanted to go out and you wanted to stay home. Deferring would be going out with a great attitude, not grumbling or complaining. Maybe the issue was much more intense, like deciding how to spend your bonus check. But not all deference has to do with decision making. It is an attitude of the heart that seeks to place our spouse’s interests above our own. It is the practice of unselfishness in all areas.
This is easier said than done. Especially when our desire is strong to do what we want. It goes against the wave of individualism sweeping across our culture. Our marriages should be different, and showing deference to one another is great place to begin.
4 Ways Deferring to your Spouse Builds a Healthy Marriage:
- It teaches us to say no to our own desires for the good of others.
- It is treating our spouse the way Christ has treated us. He deferred His rights in order to secure our salvation.
- It demonstrates our genuine commitment to bless our spouse at any cost.
- It denies our cravings for control.
Sheila Gregoire posted about Submission – Facts Every Wife Should Know, that applies well to our topic and addresses husbands as well at the end:
In most marriage ceremonies, Genesis 2:24 is read aloud: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” God’s desire for us isn’t a tug-of-war relationship where one person gets his way; it’s for true oneness!
And I think that submission—“putting ourselves under” our husbands and willingly pursuing our husband’s best—is the primary tool to attain this oneness. In humility, we think of his needs, his wants, his interests, his desires, before we think of our own. We pursue his best before we pursue our best.
I think that’s a taller order than just “in the event of ties, he wins.” We don’t just defer to his decisions. We emotionally and physically invest in building him up and pursuing his best. And that sounds much more like the nature of the gospel to me. We serve. We love. We show grace. And our husbands serve us too, as they love us as Christ loved the church—even as they love their own bodies. That’s the recipe for unity, and it’s what Jesus really wants for us. (emphasis mine)
I love what Sheila says, deferring is the recipe for unity. My prayer for us today as that we will choose to defer for the good of our marriage. This is the heart of the one-flesh nature of a strong and maturing marriage. Each of us deferring to the other out of love, respect and joy.