I was mad at my wife a few weeks ago. The reason why is unimportant. I felt like she had wronged me. That happens in marriage some times. Because of this, I was starting to get into resentment and bitterness. The more I resented her and became embittered, the more reasons I could think of to resent her and be embittered. The more things I thought of that made me mad at her, the more my own sins seemed attractive. In fact, I was entitled to them.
Fortunately, by the grace of God, I have some friends I turn to for accountability. They pulled me up short. One of them gave me some reading to do and some assignments to work on. I didn’t want to do them. I was sure they would all just tell me that I needed to quit being mad at my wife and I didn’t want to let that go. I wanted to hang on to it. It was giving me permission to ignore my own side of the street. But, I’ve learned that relying on God’s strength means doing what my wise counselors tell me to do. So I started reading.
Because of one of the readings, Romans 5:6-8 hit me like a ton of bricks.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die–but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
When did Christ die for me? When did He show His love for me? When did He start offering me grace? Praise God, He didn’t wait until I was strong, godly, and victorious over sin. He did all of that while I was still weak, ungodly, and sinful. He did that while He had plenty of reason to be resentful, embittered, and downright angry at me. In fact, isn’t that exactly what I want Him to do? I need grace while I’m still weak, ungodly, and sinful, otherwise I’ll never become strong, godly, and victorious over sin.
If Jesus Christ would do this for me, how much more ought I to do that for my wife? She doesn’t need my resentment, bitterness, and anger when she is weak, ungodly, and sinful. She needs grace and love. She needs me to sacrifice for her in those times. In fact, isn’t that exactly how I want her to treat me? Let’s face it, I’m pretty weak, ungodly, and sinful myself. For every thing she does that makes me embittered, resentful, and angry, she can provide a list of things I’ve done to do the same to her. Don’t I want her patience, compassion, grace, and love at those times? Of course. I need to offer the same to her.
The wall broke. The anger vanished. The resentment dissipated. The bitterness backed off. Remembering Christ’s love for me strengthened me to get back to love for my wife. It allowed me to let Christ love my wife through me.
Now don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying Christ’s love taught me how to stuff my feelings about things my wife has done. I still have to grow to communicate these feelings with her in a mature and Christlike manner. But I’ve learned the first key to be able to communicate like that and develop some marital peace, harmony, and happiness.
The 1st Key: I must offer my wife the same grace at the same time as Jesus offered it to me.
What have you learned to help you deal with marital strife? You can add your input by clicking here.