I tell people regularly that I get sick of the sound of my own voice sometimes. When your calling involves speaking and writing sometimes you yearn for times to just listen to or read the words of another. Today I welcome Shirsten Dreyer and another one of her guest posts. It’s good to hear from the ladies now and then and Shirsten’s perspective and counsel should be a blessing to all, especially the daughters of God.
Recently, I was asked to give a devotional at a bridal shower. The bride grew up in church and most likely had heard many teachings about marriage over the years. As I perused Proverbs for some wise words about marriage, I was amused by God’s sense of humor to inspire Solomon to pen, “Continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike” (Prov. 27:15). Young brides and grooms certainly do not intend to become quarrelsome in marriage, but a day seems to come when being loving may be a choice that takes every ounce of commitment and discipline they can muster.
Many of us have heard sermons on the admonition to count it joy when we encounter trials (James 1:2). Usually those sermons focus on the “joy” part. But what is ever said about the “when” part? Notice that James doesn’t say “if” we encounter trials. In other words, trials most definitely will come. How best to prepare?
Drawing from experience, I offered the bride these words:
- Eliminate “stinkin’ thinkin’” – How simple it is to indulge a negative thought, chew on it, justify a souring attitude, and harden our heart toward our mate. The remedy is found in Paul’s instruction to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Are we filling our minds and hearts with the Word of God or with ideas that are destructive? Are we looking to apply biblical principles to everyday circumstances, or do we choose worry or condemnation as our default response?
- Forgive and apologize freely – During my first months of marriage, my husband and I had an argument, and hubby closed the conversation with, “I forgive you.” Preferring to stew a while longer, I remember thinking to myself, “Well, who asked you?” We laugh about it now, but learning how to apologize to and forgive one another took practice and humility, along with a commitment not to use past wrongs as a weapon against each other. 1st John 1:9 urges us to confess our sins to one another. Inherent with confession is seeking forgiveness when we have wronged someone, including our spouse. One of my favorite phrases gleaned from Family Life Conference is, “Your mate is not your enemy; don’t bomb your harbor.”
- Honor your spouse with your words – While Scripture teaches us to seek wise counsel (Proverbs 12:15), it also warns us that, “a gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence” (Proverbs 11:13). Choosing a small group of trusted advisors for accountability and counsel is wise. Failing to guard what you say about your husband to others at large……not so wise.
- Check your pride and insecurity at the door – Pride and insecurity form the root of many struggles in marriage ~ an adamant desire to be right, to not lose face with my spouse or others, a reluctance to admit needing help or wise counsel, a refusal to look at my own inadequacies. Proverbs 11:2 teaches us that “when pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom.” Am I asking the Holy Spirit to reveal corners of my heart that stubbornly refuse to bend to His instruction due to pride? Am I trusting the accountability partners God has placed in my life when they see a red flag that needs my attention?
A commitment is not just something we make at the altar on our wedding day. Rather, it is a lifetime process of learning how to honor God as we honor and encourage each other to become our best selves.
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