We’ve all done it. Most of us have done it a hundred times or more. We look at our spouse and think, does he(she) even care about me?
Our spouse has that moment where they say or do something that has you questioning their very character. She knows how much you hate it when she leaves the window open when the AC is on. He knows you like dishes to be washed, and not just left in the sink. So why on earth do they do it anyway?
Oddly, for those of us who have been married more than five seconds but less than fifty years, we use these little things as a reason to doubt our spouse. He keeps doing this, even after five years of being married to me. Does he even care? I’ve told her at least 1,000 times and she still keeps doing it – I (not it) must not really matter to her.
Let me hit the brakes right now. I’ve been married hardly longer than a hiccup but one thing I’ve learned in this short amount of time is how much Satan just LOVES to use doubt and fear to twist our perspectives of the good things God has given us to enjoy, namely marriage. He is the father of lies (John 8:44). Love is never easy, no matter what the storybooks and Hollywood movies say. It’s messy and not even the greatest friendship in the world can really prepare you for what will come when that ring slides onto your finger and you wake up next to body odor, terrible hair and flatulence. I’ll admit I put on deodorant before going to sleep – call me crazy, but I want my husband to snuggle up to me in the morning! So when he or she does that one thing that drives you absolutely crazy, chalk it up to him or her doing the horribly human thing of simply forgetting. 1,000 times? Yes, 1,000 times.
Grace has got to be the overriding act in a marriage. Accountability, sure. Self-sacrifice, absolutely. But above all of that we are sinful human beings and no one will ever know your sin better than your spouse. They can’t help it – they’re with you 24/7. Chances are your spouse has the same number (if not more) of issues against you. The point isn’t who bugs the other person more, or who has more problems than the other. The point is who can outdo one another in grace. Who can let 1 Peter 4:8 love covers over a multitude of sins, be paramount in their lives the most? A multitude does not have an exact number – it’s never ending. Oh, joy, you must be thinking. But here’s the beauty of it – that is something to be joyful about.
Being married means you’ve been given an opportunity to illustrate Christ and the church in a way you’d never be able to without your spouse. Husband, give yourself up for your wife as Christ gave himself up for the church. Wife, take up your cross and submit to your husband, as the church is called to do for Christ. Easy? Far from it. Rewarding? There are moments where it is more rewarding than anything I’ve ever experienced. I’m trusting my married friends with decades of experience who tell me those rewarding moments happen more and more the longer you make every effort.
So the next time your spouse forgets to put the cap back on the toothpaste, or when she decides she can take apart a water heater rather than call you for help (only to realize she can’t put it back together again), or when he plays “too rough” with the children, remember that grace can be the grandest forms of communication. Let it go. Remember what matters most: a positive and healthy relationship with each other.