Wednesday, October 12

He Said, She Said...Nothing

My husband, who is a pastor, occasionally asks me to do a skit with him as an introduction to his message. Not too long ago, he was teaching on communication in marriage, and our skit went something like this:

    (Tom walks through door)
    Me: Hi, Sweetheart! (kiss) How was work today?
    Tom: Ok.
    Me: Did anything exciting happen?
    Tom: No.
    Me: Oh, ok. Well, what do you want for dinner?
    Tom: (Man grunt).
    Me: Your mom wants us to come over for dinner next week, do you think Tuesday sounds good?
    Tom: I dunno.
    Me: She really wanted to set a day. Please can we go Tuesday? I checked and our calendar is wide open.
    Tom: Sure. Whatever. 
    Me: Oh, thank you, Sweetheart! (big kiss on cheek)

For the record - HE wrote this. Not me. I hadn't read it until we started practicing, and about halfway through, somewhere around the man grunt, I started sounding a little frustrated as I tried to pry answers out of him. After all, we wanted this conversation to sound realistic, and that's how I usually respond! But Tom stopped me, "No, no, Sweetie, don't sound like that in the skit. Act like you did when we were dating." Ouch.

I totally understood what he meant, but his comment stung. I thought, He's right. Why did I have all the patience in the world for him before we were married, and now I don't? What happened?

After 10 years of marriage, any wife can tell you exactly what happens. We have one too many conversations like the one above. We put ourselves out there too many times and get tired of being hurt or ignored. You can probably relate. But when, really, is it ok to give your spouse a piece of your mind? to lose your temper? to stop talking altogether? I don't know the exact answer, but here are a few I found in the Bible:

Forgive "seventy times seven..." (Matthew 18:22)
"Let your speech be always with grace..." (Colossians 4:6)
Be "kind...tenderhearted...forgiving one another..." (Ephesians 4:32)
"The fruit of the Spirit is love...peace...patience...gentleness..." (Galatians 5:22)
Don't repay "evil for evil, or railing for railing." (I Peter 3:9)

Ouch. For the record, I didn't write those either.  And I'm not saying they're easy. I'm saying those responses are much more biblical than mine often are. And, if I'm honest, that's exactly how I want others to treat me. To be kind to me when I'm in a bad mood. To forgive me and love me when I'm not very lovable to them.

So let's test this: What if, for just one week, we treated our spouses the way the Bible tells us to? The way that came so naturally when we first met? Just for a week. How might our relationship change? I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it would improve! So, for the next week, I'm going to try my best...
   1) not to respond to or talk about my husband in an unkind manner,
   2) to forgive easily, and
   3) to encourage daily.

You know, the way I did "when we were dating." I'll let you know the results, and I have to tell you... I can't wait to see them myself!! If you want to try this too, let me know so I can pray for ya! I have the feeling we're gonna need it. :)

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