A guaranteed way to get into my heart is to treat my kids well … or even my dogs. People are especially drawn to you when you value what they love.
Special treatment of who I love endears you to me.
When I value people who God’s chosen, I show that I love Him. Treating any of His kids, a brother or a husband, poorly doesn’t endear me to God. Instead, it draws His corrective eye.
Parents in the natural, siblings in the supernatural
As a parent when one of my kids mistreats their sibling in retaliation, especially when the offending sibling is not mature or is not emotionally strong, it shows me that child is lacking in something. I don’t think any parent – including God – wants to see their kids exacting revenge on each other.
And, being made in God’s image, it makes sense that our parenting outcomes would be similar to His – we want our kids to grow up and do well. We want them to do right, to others and to do right, for themselves. In our marriage, God is the Father of us both, a son and a daughter, and He wants both His kids to grow up and do well – for ourselves and to each other. But if my brother sins against me and I choose to not reflect Christ in my response (Rom 8:29) I will draw God’s parenting corrective eye rather than endearing myself to Him and making Him proud of me.
Choose – think – act
As soon as my marriage became truly about God, a spark was ignited which fueled my desire to be a better wife. It seemed to be a very natural progression, a win/win. I’m not saying it was an effortless progression, we’re still required to flesh out things in our lives, but at least now, I could see the plan. It’s similar to getting healthy. Just reading about working out and proper nutrition won’t make you healthy. You need to first have the desire, then get the knowledge, and finally, fulfill the activity of the knowledge – it’s still going to be work even though you can see the direction you’re going.
In this example, I’m after the corollary of good health and activity: A lean(er) fit body.
I’m betting since you read Upwithmarriage, you already have God at the center of your life and He was probably a part of your wedding day. But has He been moved to the hub that your role as a wife rides on in the marriage?
Once God occupies that position, you will naturally choose better thoughts. With better thoughts, you automatically speak better words. My desire to please God – better thoughts – better words – better treatment of my husband – God’s pleased. It starts and ends with God but our proof is in the middle.
Flesh or Spirit
It always comes down to that fight inside of us, doesn’t it? Am I going to position myself in that hub or am I going to willingly let God have it? I found out, He won’t fight you for it – He doesn’t work that way. Just like your choice to accept Jesus Christ for your life, you have to willingly hand over the position, over and over again.
The question we have to continually ask is: Which desire is stronger? The desire to get our own way by doing it our own way – to please the flesh. Or the desire to do it God’s way by following Christ’s way – to please the Spirit.
My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. –Paul to the Galatians
I recently attended a webinar from Jeff Goins. He had lots of great information, but it was a question he asked at the beginning that resonated with me for marriage: “Are you looking for an excuse, or are you looking for success? Because you’ll find whichever one you are looking for.”
As long as I was determined to have Darrell’s problems always be the excuse, our marriage was moving in the direction of failure. But when I set my sights on God for my success as a wife, the direction of our marriage changed to success.
The truth is, whether you think positive or negative about your husband, either way you are right. Don’t underestimate the effect you have on him – it’s profound in ways you can’t imagine.