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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Steps to a Great Marriage IV

I know how frustrated you can get when someone you expect a lot from makes mistakes that you see as careless or selfish. I also know that speaking unkindly to someone can become a bad habit. This is why I continually discipline my children when they speak unkindly to one another - it can become habitual if they are allowed to continue treating one another disrespectfully and without honor or value.

I realized many, many years ago that the way I speak to my spouse can make or break my entire marriage. If I fuss at him, roll my eyes at his mistakes or talk in a way that isn't respectful, not only am I in sin before my God (which hinders my prayers), I'm also setting the standard for how my children should treat the authority figures God placed in their life - namely me, the mom.

My children are trained by my behavior towards my husband. When they get a bit older, they will treat me in the exact same way I treat my husband, because I have modeled for them how one is to treat their authority. My husband is my authority, if I treat him like I'm smarter than he is, If I lie to him about how much things cost or what really happened, if I think that I know what's better, I know how to do things better and many of the things he does are an annoyance - guess what? My children will treat me exactly like that one day. I have set the bar at disrespect, deceit and dishonor. They won't rise above my behavior and treat me better than I treated my spouse. They simply aren't wired that way. Perhaps that's why God says the sins of the father are revisted upon the children.

That's not the only reason for you to treat your husband with honor and speak to him respectfully, but it's a very compelling reason that often motivates us more quickly than the spiritual aspect of the equation.

The spiritual aspect of course deals with our heart towards the authority that God has placed in our lives. When we belittle that authority, we are basically saying that God can't be trusted. For, God wants to lead us through our spouse. He speaks to our spouse and has given us the very spouse He wants for us; no, you didn't marry the wrong person - before you were born, every one of your days was written in the book before one of the days came to be, and your spouse was written into those pages; so don't let the enemy convince you that you made a mistake and married the wrong spouse. (I can't count how many people have confided in me that they married the wrong person - so you're not alone if you believe this, however I am fully convinced this is the evil whisperings of an unclean spirit to your heart - rebuke that thought, for it's not your own.)

If you are in the habit of speaking disrespectfully to your spouse, you must change today - damage control is in order. If your children are already speaking to you the way you speak to your husband, you probably need to spend some time in confession and repentance to them, explaining what you have done and how they have responded. You can all then seek to change together as a family. It will draw you closer as you work together on the common goal of treating your authority figure with respect. God is able to transform your speech and redeem that which the locusts have eaten. He is, after all, a God of redemption who has given you the ministry of reconciliation. That begins with you in your own home. He wants nothing more than to bless you with a joy filled marriage of mutual respect and honor with joy filled children that treat you with respect and honor. It's never too late if you repent to all who have been harmed by your choices. God is able to do a mighty work and loves to do miracles in our lives.

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