I don’t know if I’m normal or not (hah!), but I find that even though I want to make my relationship with Jesus and his kingdom business my top priority, alas, my attention quickly shifts to my personal comfort and happiness! If you’re a follower of Jesus, you have likely experienced the same struggle.
Of course, the devil is constantly trying to lure us off course. Jesus tells us in John 8 that Satan is the “father of lies”, so we can expect that he’s subtly whispering lies into our minds about what is the most important thing on which to focus at every moment. The Holy Spirit is saying, “Focus on things that matter in eternity”, but Satan is whispering “Focus on what will make you feel good right now. That’s what’s really important.“ Ugh.
How does this all play out in marriage? Well, the devil would love to get us to focus on how our spouse is disappointing to us, and then the devil follows that up with whispers that we need to manipulate our spouse, or control our spouse, or even trade in our spouse for a better model!
The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is urging us to consider the more important, eternal, components of our relationship with our spouse. Even when your spouse disappoints you, the question God wants us to ask Him is this, “Lord, how do you want me to interact with my husband for his good in eternity?”. That question is such a game-changer! Suddenly, we see the bigger picture. Yes, your husband might have hurt your feelings or sinned against you, but YOU are no longer the center of the world. Now you begin to see that God has given you great responsibility to pivot from self-focus to acting in a way that could potentially impact your spouse’s walk with God into eternity. That’s huge, and this shift in perspective is clearly God’s plan for us when interacting with othersl! Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself. Each of you should look not only to his own interest, but also to the interest of others.”
As you ask that question of God, and strain to listen for the prompting of the Holy Spirit, you may sense Him calling you to show extravagant and unexpected grace to your husband. Maybe God will prompt you to speak words of identity to your husband and remind him how much God loves him. Conversely, maybe God will prompt you to lovingly establish boundaries with your husband. Maybe God knows this is the time for your husband to feel the weight of discipline that could end up saving his soul.
The point is: Ask God to give you a perspective shift during stressful times in marriage. Every time you’re in an emotionally-charged moment with your husband, train yourself to pause and ask this question, “Lord, how do you want me to interact with my husband for his good in eternity?”
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