Anyone who has been married any length of time soon discovers that their spouse can say or do certain habitual things to make us upset. They love us and we love them, but we all have our differences and quirks that can be upsetting at times. Life can be demanding and we all lead busy lives, which can greatly deplete our cache of patience. If we’re not careful, we can easily allow all of that stress to be unleashed on those we love the most. We can sloppily permit complacency to creep in.
It’s been said that “Familiarity breeds contempt” and there is a lot of truth to that. (My Google research attributes the quote to Udall in 1548.)
So, how do we guard against such things?
By consistently reading the Word of God and spending time in prayer, we place ourselves in a position to surrender our hearts and hear from God.
“Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.” ~ Psalm 51:10
I’ve learned that I need God’s help in keeping quiet when I’d much rather spout off. Sometimes I might be tempted to be critical, but, instead, I ask God to help me speak with love. Often we need to re-train ourselves to communicate in ways that convey facts and what must be said, minus the attitude and opinions that can be hurtful. This requires a lot of self-control and prayer. It’s only with God’s grace that I speak with love and compassion.
As a mother of three, I have been guilty of treating my husband the same way I treat my children without even realizing it. I’ve been a stay at home mom for nearly twenty years and I’m accustomed to being in charge of the kids throughout the day. But, if I’m not careful, I can subconsciously treat my spouse as a child also. I can be bossy. I am a female, after all. 😉 However, that’s not my intended role. That is not the proper function of a wife. So, I must rely on God and His power to operate through me to maintain peace in our home. My husband and I are a team and we discuss everything. He is ever patient with me and my shortcomings, as I am with him. We both have very strong personalities, so we must temper these with wisdom and mutual submission.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer.” ~ Psalm 19:14
This is the prayer of my heart.
“Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” ~ Psalm 141:3
The longer we’re married, the more I realize how few words are truly necessary.
“In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” ~ Proverbs 10:19
I also realize how powerful words truly are.
“Words kill, words give life;
they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.” ~ Proverbs 18:21 MSG
May we choose life and strive to communicate love always to those we hold most dear.
~ Below is one of my all-time favorite Bible passages:
“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.” ~ I Corinthians 13:1-7 The Message Bible