For some reason, this morning when I read Proverbs 17, I was remembering years past, when my husband would travel frequently for work. He travels some now, but it’s nothing like it used to be, leaving on Sunday night and returning Friday evening.
I smiled when I remembered how brusque and short he would be back then. I smiled again when I saw the man God was turning him into – one who asks me to cuddle on the couch the night he’s back so we can get back in the business of being a family.
We’ve been married 20 years, and I’ve never once complained about his day or so of adjustment (mine, maybe, but not his! ) before he remembers that females are creatures who thrive from wooing, gentleness, and romance. I wondered why that was, and I saw evidence of the Spirit’s work in my life:
9 He who conceals a transgression seeks love,
But he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.
I desire intimacy with my husband. Deeply. More than I want anything in this world (other than intimacy with God), I want to connect with this man.
To criticize him, lecture him, point out his flaws, focus on what’s wrong, etc., only discourages him. And in my seeking of love, repeating his failings, either to his face or to my girlfriends, only causes division between us. And do we trust God or not? I needed to learn patience and not to wrap my sense of self up in my husband’s treatment of me. So God allowed it to take a while for him to overcome this, but it was purposeful.
Who am I to fight with God over what He knows is best for me?
So why not extend that grace to others, because the Scripture also says in 1 Peter 4:8, “8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”
In other words, when our mommas used to tell us, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!” they were right. Seeking godly counsel when you don’t know what to do is one thing – gossip or criticizing someone is a completely different deal – it’s sin. We need to behave accordingly.
I wonder if God were to show us an inventory of our speech on any given day, if we’d have more words that bring life, or more words that bring death through criticism (which, btw, is judgment) and negativity…?
Dare you today to overlook another’s transgressions. Double dog dare you to speak gently, kindly, respectfully, to each other.
And just so you know, relationship research shows that it is the little things, built up over time, that make a huge difference in changing marriages. Triple Dog Dare you to be patient while God works on your spouse, and know He’s working on you, too.
Glad to be on the journey with you,
P.S. I am sorry I missed Monday and Tuesday – no excuses, just over capacity on commitments. More on that maybe tomorrow. Mea Culpa.