The Sweet Christian Bride

Philippians 4:8 in Marriage: True

by admin on August 14, 2012 in Communication, Faith, Relationship, Spouse, Vows with No Comments

When your marriage is rooted in the love of Christ, you have a target on your back.  Spiritual warfare is real, and the enemy doesn’t like God to have the glory He is due.  The best piece of advice I ever received regarding spiritual warfare was to fix my eyes on Jesus.  I don’t need to zero in on the enemy or the casualties in order to win the battle; I need to focus on Christ and let Him fight the battle for me.

So how do we fix our eyes on Jesus?

The wise woman who gave me that advice pointed me to Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  She said that Jesus is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy; therefore, when we think on things that satisfy those characteristics, we are pointed back to the One in Whom those characteristics originate.

Meditating on Philippians 4:8 and applying its truth in your marriage can, I believe, transform your relationship.  So let’s break it down starting with True.

WHATEVER IS TRUE

Some truths that come to mind:  You are loved beyond measure.  You are saved not by your merit but by the grace of Christ.  You love your spouse.  You respect your spouse.  You cannot change your spouse.

Now flip all those truths around from the point of view of your spouse.  They are true about him too.  Knowing that all these things are true for both of you gives you a powerful starting point for your marriage.  There is so much that could be said about thinking on what is true in the context of marriage, but I want to focus in on one: the benefit of the doubt.  Here’s what I mean:

Chris and I love each other.  We respect each other, and we even like each other.  But he and I, like every other husband and wife, have moments where we let our immediate feelings overshadow the lasting truth.

For example, when I am doing the dishes alone after dinner wishing Chris would read my mind and want to serve me by doing them himself, my feelings for him aren’t warm and fuzzy.  I don’t like the part about him that is selfish and leaves me to fend for myself.  And I don’t respect the choice to read about sports while I’m doing housework for the both of us.

When I join him after finishing the dishes, I am caught in a frenzy of emotions that are spiraling bigger and bigger with negative thoughts, which support and enhance my initial grudge.  He didn’t say thank you.  He didn’t even notice that I came back in the room.  I always have to do his dishes.  He never thinks of how that makes me feel.  He is must not love me if he doesn’t see that I need his help on things like this.

You see how easy it is for my emotions to spiral.  So when Chris does say something to me (good, bad, or neutral), I’m a loaded weapon.  Usually in that scenario, I would snap at him to make him feel bad because I don’t feel like liking him or respecting him.

Chris, however, is pretty great about recognizing that I am speaking out of an immediate emotion and not out of a true enmity in my heart.  He won’t retort with a defensive remark; he will simply ask me what’s going on—why am I upset.

When I’m in that defensive mode, I almost wish he would respond back with a retort so I could unleash the irritation in me on the one person I could rationally blame it on.  But his lack of harsh words immediately invites me to examine my own words, my own thoughts, and my own heart instead.  When I see that they aren’t pleasing, I apologize and repent.

In scenarios like that one, Chris gives me the benefit of the doubt.  He knows that our marriage is lasting.  He knows that I love him and like him and respect him.  He knows that I desire the best for him and that I want our team to succeed.  He knows that no matter what my emotions are in the moment, those truths will always win out.  So he reacts not to the emotions of the moment but to the truth.

If I had done that same thing, my thoughts in the kitchen would have been very different. I know that Chris loves me and likes me and respects me.  I know that Chris enjoys serving me and desires to protect me.  I know that Chris loves when I am happy.  I know that if Chris is absorbed in a leisure activity while I am tasking, then he either needs to do that or is not aware of my need for his help. I know that leisure is an important part of staying sane.  I know that if I asked for his help, he would do it.  I know that he does not desire to punish me. The list goes on.

My actions would have then been to continue doing the dishes on my own and release any frustration that might be cropping up or stop what I am doing, go over to him, and ask him for his help so we can tackle them together.

In moments of conflict with your husband, give him the benefit of the doubt.  Believe that he is on your team and that his words and actions that express otherwise are coming from an immediate emotion, not from the truth of his heart.  You can deal with immediate emotions more tactfully when you don’t buy into the lie that these emotions characterize your husband’s identity and thus your marriage.

And as you choose the truth over what appears to be true in the moment, you are reminded that your husband’s hurtful words and actions do not make him any less loved by God.  You can therefore choose unconditional love for him as well.  What strength there is in relying on Christ to fuel your love for your husband rather than allowing your husband’s performance to earn it!

God 1: Enemy 0.

Protect your marriage from attack by thinking on what is actually true and not just on what appears to be true.  If you don’t know what that is, think on Christ and that will calibrate your thoughts.

Tweet

By Lindsay

Your email is never shared.
Required fields are marked *