Feeling good vs. being better
It was the kind of Saturday perfect for woodworking; that is, if I were a woodworker. The garage door was flung open, and my husband padded on trails of sawdust around his project, a complicated bookshelf. He’d called me in for my opinion.
I loved his creativity, was eager to encourage. But after a few minutes of dialogue, he stepped back, paintbrush in hand.
“Y’know, I didn’t call you down here to be supportive. I want you to actually help me make this better.”
Oh. Oh, yeah.
It’s a well-traversed, cherished rut of mine: To seek to be supportive or encouraging more than to tell the truth.
We all fall on different slices of that spectrum. But for me? I am inclined to fall on the section labeled “tends to confront only when substantially angry/hormonal.” I overachieve when it comes to warm fuzzies, cheerleading, win one for the Gipper talks, etc.
Yet contrary to what our culture would have us believe, God has deeper purposes for my marriage than feeling good.
And my spouse deserves more than a passive partner. God put us together to be better—not just to feel good about who we already are: “magnify the LORDwith me, and let us exalt His name together!” (Psalm 34:3).
More specifically, God loves both my husband and me enough to not leave us in the sin-cancer that kills us, that robs us of intimacy and life and fruitfulness. As George MacDonald once wrote, God is easily pleased, but not easily satisfied.
Husbands are commanded to sanctify their wives as Jesus does for the church, “having cleansed her by the water with the word … that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:26-27).
But wives, too, are included in God’s command to the entire church: “If anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness” (Galatians 6:1).
There is more beauty, creativity, and fullness to be had between you. (For my husband and me, there was a more artful bookshelf.)
Love enough to tell the truth.
Wives, are you guilty of expecting your husband to read your mind?
Husbands, do you ever bend the truth to protect your wife?
The good stuff: Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body … when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16)
Action points: In what specific areas of your marriage do you shy away from telling your spouse the truth? Prayerfully explore your reasons for holding back. Are your motives truly loving your spouse or loving your own comfort?
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