Yesterday, I talked about the importance of giving thanks for the people our spouses are today, instead of continually fantasizing about who we might wish they’d become. While it is essential that we focus on the things in our marriages that we should be thankful for, it’s impossible not to notice the things that are less than ideal about our spouses.
No matter who you are, I guarantee that you are married to a flawed human being. So what should you do about it? Turn a blind eye to your spouse’s struggles? Harp and complain continually about their short-comings? Pretend that their issues don’t exist?
Instead of grumbling over their failings, we need to learn how to follow the examples found in Scripture to pray blessings for our spouses. When we bless them in this way, we agree that God has the power to overcome even their greatest weaknesses.
The blessings in Paul’s epistles provide a beautiful model for us to follow when it comes to dealing with a spouse’s short-comings. When Paul blesses a church, he often invokes God’s all-sufficiency to meet their specific needs.
A good example comes from 1 Thessalonians. Some of the problems that the church at Thessalonica struggled with included living lives of sexual purity (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8) and working diligently while waiting in hope for the coming of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:9–5:11).
This church had some serious issues, yet Paul’s concluding blessing unconditionally affirms God’s ability to overcome their sins and weaknesses. He touches on their problems, but in a positive, rather than a negative way. Paul proclaims, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
How can I follow this example in my own marriage? Instead of focusing on the negative issues my husband grapples with, I need to invoke God’s perfect power to establish the positive alternative in his life. For example, my husband is a very detail-oriented person, who likes to thoroughly plan things in advance. This can make him vulnerable to anxiety because he’s often acutely aware of everything that might go wrong. Instead of criticizing my husband’s tendency to worry, I need to bless him by calling on the all-powerful God to fill him with supernatural peace and the confidence that no matter what happens, God is always in complete control.
Perhaps your husband struggles in his relationship with his children. You might bless him by calling on God, the perfect Father, to empower him with the patience, affection, and wisdom he needs to create a loving connection with his kids.
Instead of adopting a fatalistic attitude and writing our spouses off as permanently stuck, we need to acknowledge God’s power to transform their hearts by calling on His all-sufficient strength to meet them in their areas of greatest need.
Stay tuned this week for four more practical habits that can empower you to effectively fight back-to-back with your spouse. Adapted from my upcoming book A Wife of Valor: Your Strategic Importance in God’s Battle Plan.