Memories are powerful things. A good memory can lift our mood and brighten our day. I was just remembering today a time about 10 years ago when the kids and I met Shawn at the Little Rock Airport after she had been away on a short trip. It was a great time of reunion for our family and a fun time to see the kids so excited about seeing their Mom again! The Lord has given us a great gift in our ability to remember.
But as with every gift we are given by God, we can take that gift and use it for our own selfish purposes. So many times in marriage, we tend to focus our memories on the “bad things” that our spouse is doing. We tend to stay fixed on what they are not doing and the negative things we see and experience in our day-to-day lives. Because we have a fallen, sinful nature as humans, we tend to blame others and shift fault away from ourselves.
And no marriage I know of is free from this, including my own. Shawn is an incredible woman, wife, and Mom. But I too often catch myself thinking of what she is “not doing”, or “how she could be better at this or that”. And while I want to have a realistic view of my spouse and talk honestly about our marriage with Shawn, I also want to remember the great gifts and abilities she brings to our marriage – gifts and talents that I do not possess. In so many ways, she fills my gaps and weaknesses. As I often say, “God gave me a helper because I need help!”
Stop for a moment and think about your spouse. Really, stop and think for 1 minute. Is the first thing that comes to your memory something negative? If someone could play back a tape recorder of all the things you had said to your spouse in the last 48 hours, what would that sound like? Would you be sharing things that build up your spouse, or are you tearing them down with your words?
In every marriage and relationship, we hurt one another – that is just a fact of life. But those hurts can move us to focus on the negative and to only see the shortcomings. But as I was remembering and asking the Lord to help me see clearly, this is what He brought to my memory: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)
How does the Lord remember and deal with me in my sins and shortcomings? Verse 32 reminds me that God in Christ has forgiven me. He gave His very best, His Son, so that I could be forgiven.
Lord, help us to see things from Your perspective when it comes to our spouse. Open our eyes to see the great gifts and abilities that You have given our mate. And help us to forgive as You have forgiven us so we can avoid focusing on the negative and being bitter. We so need You, Lord, to invade our hearts and transform our minds! Do this, we pray, in the Name of Jesus.
AUTHOR: Glen Solberg is a man who is passionate about marriage - his own and the marriages of those around him! He and his wife, Shawn, have been married since 1992 and have been investing in the marriages of others full-time since 2003. You can find out more by going to the About Page.
Written by Glen Solberg, Marriage Revolution, 2018. All Rights Reserved. If you have questions or suggestions, you can connect with us via our Contact Us page.