Christian Marriage: Spouses, Are You Grading Your Own Paper?

The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword.

As a Christian wife who’s still doing “my work”, I’d rather fall on my pen than his sword any day. My pen is nice and shiny, has the smoothest roller you’ve ever felt, and the richest red ink to scribe an “A+” on everything I do – LOL.

Tell the truth. You’ve got a pen too, don’t you?

{Clears throat}

“With this pen, I thee wed, and will remind you of every A+ I give myself.”

Sound familiar?

How Great Thou Art

Cleavers, when your spouse tries to express what s/he needs (that they’re currently not getting), do you drown them out by singing your own praises?  Are you unable to see their wants, their frustrations because you’re too busy looking at the grades you gave YOURSELF?

“Well, I do this, and…I do that, and… remember that time I did…”

In marriage, one of the most dangerous behaviors is to grade your own paper – to tell your spouse how great a job you’re doing at being their spouse in the face of their needs.

How often do husbands and wives fool themselves into thinking they’re the best thing since sliced bread – when that’s only true if they were married to themselves!? Marriage would be so much easier if only your spouse would think, feel, need, and respond like you, right?

Reality check, Cleavers – You are married to another human being – a thinking, feeling, desiring spouse who, from their vantage point, may not always grade you on the steep curve you grade yourself.

Trust that when needs are left ignored and/or unmet, be it communication, time, intimacy, sex (yes, those last two are different), finance, it cracks the door for the enemy’s pinky toe. You’d be surprised at how the smallest incidence of confusion or frustration can open the floodgates of marital chaos and destruction.

Put Down the Pen, Perk Up Your Ears

Listen up, Cleavers! We have to stop leaning to our own understanding in marriage and hear our spouse’s heart. Still not convinced? Here are a few reasons why grading your own paper must end today:

1.  It’s a breeding ground for pride.

Like mold, a few little pride spores can cause widespread damage in a short time. Your spouse will grow weary of you thinking so highly of yourself while their fulfillment is so low. There’s a reason why the Word of God tells us that pride goes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).  A prideful heart builds the very blinders that keep us from going in the right direction.  Don’t let pride destroy your marriage, and trip up your household.

2.  It does not value the feelings or experience of your spouse.

Value is everything to a marriage, and each spouse may have a different gauge or definition of what value means to them.  No one likes their values trampled and replaced with a counterfeit. Your spouse deserves consideration for his/her feelings and experience – which more often than not, will be different from the way you felt and experienced the very same thing.

This is an example of Ephesians 5:21, where equal opportunity submitting can be achieved. Step away from your own lens, and check out the view of your spouse.  You might be surprised.

3.  It resists the truth that you are not your own.

Are you still trying to govern what now belongs to your spouse? In a godly marriage, both the husband and wife have granted loving ownership of their bodies to their spouse (1 Corinthians 7:4). So, instead of your voice, views, and opinions getting louder, they actually diminish and the mic is passed to your spouse. This includes the red pen. We are no longer our “own”, to do what we will under our will alone.

4.  It blocks the opportunity for martial growth.

One major key to marital growth is acknowledgment. We can’t receive forgiveness for our sins without first acknowledging that we have sinned. Likewise, if we only accentuate our perceived positives, and never acknowledge our negatives – we are fooling ourselves into disgraceful immaturity. The marriage cannot grow at a purposed rate if we refuse to acknowledge what our spouses feel.  Even if it turns out that their lens was scratched, they had you all wrong, hearing and respecting their heart enough to listen and value them (#2) will grow a long way.

Bonus

5.  It ignores the truth that God has a pen, too!

All of us pen-happy Cleavers eventually have to get out of the Teacher’s seat, and return to our desks! God is the righteous judge; He has lessons for each of us on how to improve as a husband, wife, and an individual. So, after you’ve graded your paper, and God calls for all papers to be passed to the front of your row – trust that His evaluation will be the fair, just, and true one.

So, What’s the Play Call?

Let the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17), which is the Word of God, be mightier than your pen. Pride doesn’t respond to anything but a sword! Our egos need to be chopped down before they further contaminate the purpose and destiny for our marriages.

When you step away from the pen and chop your own pride down, your spouse no longer has to! A frequent, honest self-check regimen, through the leading of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, will minimize arguments and disagreements. Now, this here takes work!

So husbands, if you’re tired of your wife nagging you about what you’re not doing – spend some time with God. Let Him evaluate and lead you.  Wives, tired of your husband complaining? Ask God to show you you and how you can be a better wife for him and not just a “better wife” in your own eyes.

The ultimate intention is for the marriage to get an A+, not just a single spouse.  Two (failing) 50% grades will not make a “100%”’ in a godly marriage.

So, as we cleave to each other, let’s strive to bring 100% to the table for the Teacher to finally say to both spouses, “Well done!

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