Have you ever met someone and thought to yourself, “Man, how can they not see how they act?” Their bad behavior seems to blatantly glare for all to see; except they seem blind to it. I have. In fact, sometimes I don’t even want to be around that person. Usually I think to myself, “I sure wish someone who is close to them would share how they come across.”
When we are small, our parents hopefully began sharing with us early on that our bad behavior was unacceptable. God, in His infinite wisdom, put family and people in our lives to help us to expose our flesh. I know that for me, this is true. When we spend a lot of time with people we are able to see those faults much more easily; it is a lot like a magnifying glass.
We have a choice. We can balk at the “help” or we can accept it. I find it interesting when I hear my own children state that they have found working through certain character issues of their siblings (both dealing with their sibling/s and themselves on the things their siblings pointed out to them) has helped them with their spouses. It was an area that we really pointed out; that God didn’t by accident place all of us together in a family and that we are supposed to learn and grow to be more like Him every day. Much time was spent on discussing these issues and behaviors; as well as how we should speak to each other.
This should not stop when we get married. I often feel like a magnifying glass for my husband. When we were dating, I remember him sharing things with me as well. It was mutual and I really felt like I could learn. However, when we got married I noticed a shift. He became very defensive when I shared things with him, he was harsh with me when he shared things with me, and he was hypocritical when he demanded more from me in areas. When we had children, things didn’t change for the better. It got worse.
I know often we women are told to “build up our husband’s ego,” “don’t nag,” “make our husband’s feel like a man,” etc., right? But, I would like to challenge this way of thinking. Let’s go back to my original statement. People are not naturally inclined to see their own bad behavior. We are defensive and sinful. God shares in His word for us to hold each other accountable. It also states in Genesis 2:18, “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”
Who loves the husband more than the wife?! She is going to be the perfect one to help him see how he does not look like Christ. I found that I was becoming frustrated and hurt when I observed and shared with my husband his sin nature and he was not receiving that as help. Eventually I became angry and that made me upset at myself for behaving in an unChrist-like way. Not all women show their frustration and hurt in the same way; some will withdraw and shut down.
But, the good news is that my husband became involved in Christ Quest Ministries and developed a quest to become like Christ. He began to value my words as help and saw me as part of “his team”, not as his enemy. The more he became like Christ, the more my anger left. The more he became like Christ; the more I wanted his help to lead me more and more to Christ. Ephesians 5:21-33 is a famous passage that many refer to for helping with marriage. The verse that usually gets overlooked is verse 21, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” I was able to really see this verse in action. The more Tim submitted to God, the more I wanted to submit to him; ultimately taking us both closer to God! How wonderful it is for me to look at my husband and know that to anyone he comes into contact with, that he will be representing God better. I know that he cannot see his areas that don’t look like Jesus easily and I love that he welcomes me to get out that “magnifying glass” to help him. What a difference it makes even in my heart and approach when I know that he will welcome my help; I don’t have that anger or frustration. We are just two people trying to learn how to be more like Christ together! We are a team!