Recently I was asked to speak on why I am still nutzoid over Ruth, my wife of 43 years. Here are five reasons :
1) We learned how to mutually accept each other as uniquely designed by God: During the first five years of our marriage, we both tried to change each other into our image. Behind that drive lay the invalid perception that we were not being served, and that our “rights” were being violated. God revealed to us that:
– Marriage is not about us, but about sacrificially serving the other person: “If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself, carry his cross every day and keep close behind me… For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many…Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (Lk. 9:23 – Phillips; Mark 10:45; Jn. 15:13)
– Individual differences in two people do not necessarily mean that one right and the other is wrong. Tim LaHaye’s book, “ The Spirit Controlled Temperaments” taught us that often “it’s not wrong; just different.”
– Prayer must play a central role, as we look to God, rather than ourselves to make the changes in our spouse.
– Example is a powerful agent that affects change: “People will learn at the school of example, and they will learn at none other.” (Edmund Burke) We learned that we needed to model the qualities we wanted to see developed our spouse.
– We need to deal with our own issues, and allow God to deal with issues in our spouse. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matt. 7:1-5)
QUESTION: Are you truly accepting your spouse? Or are you still trying to change him or her? If so, why? One suggestion: Identify the most critical aspect of your spouse that you find difficult to accept. Commit before the Lord to pray regularly (1) for a change in attitude from one of a critical spirit toward one of love, and (2) determine that if he or she is to be changed, it will be God who does it. Not you.
This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection
R. Dwight Hill