– AUTHOR’S NOTE: the advice I offer today is ONLY under the idea and truth that marriage is more like a crock pot and not a microwave. Putting today’s blog into practice will be a daily choices for the long-haul and NOT a quick patch-and-fix. –
With our cell phones, there has never been a simpler time to not just capture a moment, but we can post it for the world to see. My favorite way to do that is through Instagram. I’ll admit, I love it (here’s my shameless plug to follow my account.) What originally attracted me to Instagram was their filters. For the photo-novices like me, it gave me the ability to take my pic and quickly tweak or enhance the image with a filter before dropping it to my chosen social media outlets.
In other words, you don’t see what the original image is, you see it THROUGH the filter I’ve placed upon it.
The concept of a “filter” is something I bring up quite a bit in marriage talks. Why? Because they’re so natural for us to lean on. We used them, it seems, in every facet of life/marriage. From how we communicate to people and express ourselves to how we process things and how we listen to others, we filter what comes out of as well what comes into our lives.
I would argue that “filters” have been around since the beginning. Originally, the communication God designed for husbands and wives was very simple:
Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame. Genesis 2:25
My thought: Nothing was to be hidden. What you see was, literally, what you got. The only filter they used was God. They looked at each other the same light God looked at them. Enter the serpent. Every word he said had the intention of removing the “God-filter” from their vision and fabricating a new filter to look through. If he can get them to see the world through hurt, selfishness, pain, and hopelessness, he can rob them of the life God desired for them. Everything the devil will always offer you something that you already have in Christ. But what he proposes has zero fullness with complete bondage.
It was only when sin entered through their disobedience, did they decide to cover up and begin to point fingers. Instead of seeing each other how God saw them, their responses were “filtered” through the fracture they had experienced.
They covered up.
They hid from God.
They pointed fingers.
But their response is no different from you and I.
Through our life experiences, through our own brokenness and our history, we develop “filters” and we use them on our spouse.
We filter our love so that we only offer to our spouse the type of love language we like to receive.
We start looking at our spouse through a filter of THEIR faults and OUR present hurt.
We handle our spouse through the filter of “well, that’s how my family always did it.”
We offer forgiveness only through the filter of whether or not we think they deserve it.
We filter out our humility and see the need to “win” the conflict.
We make sure we filter out our family when we get to church so that others don’t see how truly human we are.
We want to filter out any vulnerability so that nobody (not even our spouse) can use our faults against us.
And what we do is we not only learn to personally cope with them, but we don’t even realize that, while we are using filters based upon our life’s experience…
…so are others. Your boss. Your friends. Your neighbors. And yes, your spouse.
What if we started asking ourselves about what they’re dealing with and where they’re coming from? What if we took the time to love the people in our lives enough (especially our spouse) to look through their eyes and truly try to understand what they’re trying to communicate
Perhaps some of the issues you both are dealing with are less about what is being done in the moment and more about person behind the words. I’m not saying the communication doesn’t need to be shaped, but it will never be healthy till the person communicating AND the person listening gets healthy. And a fresh filter will help.
My thought: What if we can get back to the original design and began to look at each other the way God sees us? What if we used Christ as our filter to look at our spouse?
Instead of seeing what’s wrong , we recognize and encourage what’s right.
Instead of criticism over how broken you both are, we see and celebrate every step of progress.
Instead of hopelessness, we see with man, things can be impossible, but with God, there’s always hope.
Instead of seeing a fractured marriage, we see an opportunity for the healing power of Christ.
It’s time to lay down the unfair filters we’ve used to judge our spouse (and others) and pick up the one that is worth using. And here’s some SIMPLE next steps to applying a “proper filter” today that are in no way EASY:
- See how Christ sees you. Get a handle on how much Jesus loves you. Try to fathom the complete forgiveness he gives you through his grace.
- Respond to your spouse the way Christ responds to you. Forgiveness without strings. Grace that loves relentlessly. Peace that stands in the face of chaos. Hope that will not back down.
This isn’t a quick fix to anything. In fact, it’s going to be a daily choice as the world around you is going to do exactly what Adam and Eve experienced in the Garden of Eden: remove the “God-filter” from your vision and fabricating a new filter for you to look through.
Be determined. Get the right “filter.” See through the eyes of Jesus and be tenacious about responding with His love.
Love you all. Because of Christ, I have hope for you.
Thanks for letting me ramble…