Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Biggest Problem in My Marriage

It's not our financial situation.

It's not the differences in our opinions of how we should raise our children.

It's not the fact that he doesn't listen particularly well when he's sitting in front of a screen.

Or even that we still haven't perfectly nailed the whole communication thing.

It isn't sex.

It isn't either pair of in-laws.

And it isn't about roles and who does what in our relationship.


No. The biggest problem in my marriage isn't any of these things. I'm going to let you in on a little secret. The biggest problem in my marriage is me. The biggest impediment to our love and growth as a couple is my sin. I am the problem in my marriage.

Marriage is the wedding together of two sinners. Two completely imperfect, tragically fallen, fatally flawed individuals with personal sin. Two sinners with the distinct propensity to be unreasonably irritated by the sins and imperfections of other sinners... especially those of their spouse.

It's easy to look at your husband and think, "If only he didn't leave his laundry strewn across the floor" {ironically, I'm the spouse guilty of this in our marriage, lest you think I'm talking about Niall}. Or "if only he had a better job." Or "if only he was more involved with the children, or the housework, or..." on and on it goes, yada yada, ad nauseam.

And I don't want to ignore the fact that there are oftentimes real, serious problems in a marriage that is caused more by your spouse than you. When we're dealing with two sinners in every marriage, that's undeniably going to happen.

But most sinners I know {myself included} have this big problem of seeing the sins of others as HUGE and COLOSSAL... and their own sins as petty and inconsequential. This is the big problem in my marriage, and the answer for it is turning that fallacious perspective on its head.

I need to see my own sin as HUGE, NASTY, and UGLY... while I see Niall's as small and insignificant. Not as his sin relates to God, of course, but as it relates to me. Because his sin isn't primarily against me- it's actually, most importantly, against God.

When I see my sin as big and ugly, it humbles me. I'm quicker to turn to the Lord in repentance and ask my spouses forgiveness. Instead of waiting for him to apologize first, I go to him and confess my ugly, lay all my cards down on the table, and seek true reconciliation.

When my sins are "big" and his sins are "small," I can freely and readily forgive him for any grievance. My love will be big enough to cover a multitude of his sins {1 Peter 4:8}.

The parable of the unforgiving servant comes to mind {Matthew 18:21-35}. The Lord has freely forgiven every believer a HUGE debt of sin, made all the greater by the glory of the One we sinned against. If we can't freely forgive the lesser debts of others, we've missed the entire point of the cross. I am worse than an unbeliever when I refuse to forgive the sins of my husband against me.


WARNING you are about to see an affiliate link- if you click on it and make a purchase, I receive a tiny profit at no extra charge to you. So feel free to click or not click, howsoever you may be inclined. I learned this, and a host of other marriage-changing lessons from Dave Harvey's excellent book, When Sinners Say I Do. It's the best book I've ever read on marriage- I recently loaned it to a good friend, and she said the same thing- which is what reminded me of this {thanks Jen!}.


Hate that I have to add this caveat... but in a fallen world, abuse is a real problem. I am not advocating women in abusive situations to turn a blind eye and stay in an unsafe situation. If your physical safety is in jeopardy, please, get help and get out. 

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