I have a fascination with photography. Maybe a part of it is because my daughter has developed into an amazing photographer. I love how passionate she is and that she’s using it to get to go to a mission’s trip to Thailand (shameless plug for her).
I think the fascination is also fed because we have so many great photographers in our church community. Whenever I hit up Facebook, I see their work and find myself clicking on their pics, being proud of how gifted they are, and being bit envious of the “eye” they have for seeing what they see. If you ever need to get connect to one of them, I’d be happy to give references.
The other day, I was on my admin’s Facebook site (CXN Photography) and their posting caught my eye and stirred a blog thought.
What a cool idea and an amazing exercise for ANY couple to do. I asked Nicole about it and she told me how fun it was to describe your spouse and insightful it was to see how our spouse would describe you.
I sat back and thought, “If someone asked Anne to describe me, what would she say?” I would hope for things like, “He’s the sexiest man alive.” or “He’s a great husband, dad, preacher, etc.” What Colin and Nicole posted got my mind going into a such fun direction. Quite honestly, I may steal this idea as I think it’d be a blast to give to couples.
Then I found my mind going a bit deeper with it.
Instead of wondering what Anne would say, I asked myself, “what would a brutal honest exercise like this look like based on the material I give her to work with?” What was a fun little moment turned into a bit of a sober, introspective thought. So often in marriage, we are quick to place blame our spouse for what is/isn’t happening when, perhaps, we need to ask about the material we’re giving them to work with.
Sometimes I have to remind myself: I may not be the easiest thing to live with.
I know your spouse isn’t perfect (or any where close). But tossing blame is a childish game designed to shift the focus and responsibility upon someone else. It becomes our excuse to refuse to change until we see him/her change. Now, I won’t give a “permission-slip” to spouses for inappropriate or unhealthy actions, but I believe if I want to see change, then change starts with me. Perhaps, if couples exercised personal humility, they’d find an easier job experiencing marital unity (Proverbs 18:2). Why? Because you’d be working with material that is shapable instead of hardened with pride. It’s why scripture says,
Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. Proverbs 12:15
I’ve heard it said, “Humility is not thinking ‘less’ of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” So, today, I want to give you some great, simple steps to help develop some humility that will leverage marital health. The more humility you exercise, the more opportunity you have to grow. And from this, perhaps, you’ll begin to change how your spouse sees you and your marriage.
Ask for insight. If you know the motive of an individual, you know how to receive or trust what they have to say. First, ask the Holy Spirit for insight into your heart. Because our actions and words pour out of our heart. His motive for you is complete, unconditional love and we can trust that if He shows us something that needs to be tweaked or changed, He has our best interest at hand. I love the words of the Psalmist who said, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!”
Second, if you trust that your spouse loves you, then ask him/her about areas of personal growth. Don’t approach it from an aspect of “what areas to I lack in?” but “what areas do I need to grow stronger in?” I feel a positive and affirming approach facilitates momentum and encourages humility. If you’re only doing this to get your spouse you respond the same way, you’re missing the point of the exercise and your motive is no longer selfless. Be the change; be an example.
Own your mistakes. Like a plow hitting harden soil, owning your faults will prepare for the investments of time, energy, and resource. Take the energy you use to defend yourself and redirect it into owning mistakes and asking forgiveness. Why waste time trying to defend what shouldn’t be defended. Own them, repent of them, and quit living in them.
Invest in healthy habits. At Kfirst, we’ve been saying every week that “Healthy habits create holy moments.” In other words, you can see God-moments happen in your life when you position yourself to walk in a healthy manner. Habits like:
- Working on communication skills (just because you talk a lot doesn’t mean you communicate well).
- Forgiving as Christ forgave.
- Encouraging your spouse often.
- Pray for AND with your spouse.
- Getting proper rest.
- Showing gratitude frequently.
- consistent dates.
First, healthy habits are intentionally created and developed over time. We, naturally, flow toward what fits “self” and not what speaks to others. So you need to look at your daily and weekly life and be intentional about finding ONE area and making the change there.
Second, habits grow well in an atmosphere of accountability. Get help from a trusted source to both encourage you and inquire of your progress. Find a counselor. Get a mentor. But have that objective Godly source that you can be honest with and can keep you connected on the road to health.
For some of you, the question “How would your spouse describe you?” is not something that you could ask out loud. But, perhaps, it’s a question that can direct you toward some deeper introspective questions to foster some personal and marital growth.
I love you all. I’m praying for you today.
Thanks for letting me ramble…