One of the challenges we face as Christians is how to learn from our mistakes. Now in saying this let me firstly mention my first wife passed away from cancer, and I am blessed to have met a beautiful woman to whom I am now married, hence the lessons from being married twice.
Sometimes we find it difficult to learn from our mistakes, and God has a way of bringing to light our selfishness and pride when we let Him. In coming to marriage a second time and in commemoration of marriage week, here are 3 of the things I’ve learned about marriage…
1. Wives submit to your husbands
We can be remiss early in our spiritual-marriage-maturity and pull this one out when we disagree with our wife, or when we can’t win the argument and want to end the conversation. I have to admit I did try this one on, and rightly so I felt rebuked immediately as I took the Word out of context to suit my needs. When you read this passage in context, we “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph 5:21 NLT).
For husbands “love your wife, just as Christ loved the church” (Eph 5:25 NLT). So for me this means first and foremost I need to make sure my wife knows above all else how much I love her, and to act and behave in a way that endows her trust in me. I feel I then show her my reverence for her as I would towards Christ.
2. If you demand respect, you don’t command it
This goes along from the first lesson I have learnt. The louder you say to your wife to “Respect me” or, trust me, submit to me etc, the less you are actually entitled to any respect, trust, or submission. But what do I mean by that?
We earn trust and respect from people by the way we act, and by the way our words are aligned to how we behave:
“Baby, can you hang this picture frame, mow the lawn, vacuum the house…” followed by a “Yes my love, I’ll do it (later).” Does that sound familiar? Therefore, when we don’t follow through on the little things, why are we surprised at a lack of trust in the big things? In Matthew 5:33-37 is Jesus Himself leading by the example of doing what we say we will do. So for me I (still) try to do what I say I will, WHEN I said I would.
3. “Let it go, let it go…….”
Here comes the big F in marriage – not Frozen, but Forgiveness. Conflict and disagreement are part of being married. If you say you forgive your Husband or Wife, don’t bring up past mistakes in the context of the new disagreement. We each make mistakes, and can often bring critical thoughts to the argument, and the past mistake punch can add fuel to the fire that is not needed. EVEN if you are thinking it, DON’T say it.
You may be able to relate to these lessons or you may have some of your own. In thinking about all these things I can say that although I am far from a perfect husband and I often make mistakes, I am trying (my wife would probably say very trying!!)
Regardless of your marriage-maturity my greatest encouragement for you is to be bold and ask for help. Don’t worry about being judged for seeing a counsellor – I know some very influential church leaders who have it all together and they still seek counselling to make their marriage better. Maybe you could seek a mature couple who can mentor you in marriage. You don’t need to wait until things are falling apart to get help – help before a crisis can be invaluable when it comes.
The Drive Home presenter
Geoff loves his family, coffee and guitar pedals. Catch him on ‘The Drive Home’ weekdays between 3-6pm for the odd Dad joke and good old fashioned fun!