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What is that to you?

As I pondered about how our thoughts as women (and likely men too) impact our marriage, I thought about how God changed my marriage. My husband and I were married and divorced after a year and a half. For decades I blamed him for the divorce as I saw his action as the reason I filed for a divorce. God restored our marriage, yet afterwards my husband backed away from church and the things of God.

For over twenty years, I prayed asking God to change him. God has shown me how my husband loved me with Christ’s love and that if he had changed him as I asked, God would not have been able to grow me in the way He has. As I thought about God has changed me in the process of me praying for Him to change my spouse, these two passages came to mind:

When Peter saw him, he asked Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?”

Jesus answered him, “If I want him to live until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!”

So a report spread among the followers of Jesus that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say he would not die; he said, “If I want him to live until I come, what is that to you?” John 21:21-23

Peter was focused on wanting to see more of Jesus’s plan for John’s life. Jesus had just told Peter three times “Do you love me? Feed My sheep” and after Peter is like “What about John?” That was often my response in prayer to God during the course of my marriage. God’s speaking to me and I don’t want to hear that part, I am focused on my husband being the problem.

I am not Holy Spirit junior. God’s ways are higher than mine and when I have my focus on my spouse, I am not allowing Holy Spirit to work in my life. It was only when I really stopped focusing on my husband and responded to “What is that to you?” from God that I started to see changes in my marriage. My husband responded to the change in me. He wasn’t telling me to change, God was changing me but when change occurs in one person, it impacts the who family.

for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others. Why, then, do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the log in your own eye? How dare you say to your brother, ‘Please, let me take that speck out of your eye,’ when you have a log in your own eye? Matthew 7:2-4

I have never really thought about this in terms of marriage. Yet often when my spouse and I are in a disagreement my focus is on what he is or isn’t doing. I am focused on his speck and I have the log in my eye. I don’t think about that in the moment, but today I saw the log when this scripture came to mind.

In any disagreement, it is important that we start to look at what is rising up in us before looking outward. What is it in me that is causing my response? If that is something I need to address or at least acknowledge that is where I have to start. I have control of myself, not my spouse.

Then I can compassionately ask or consider what is going on in my spouse. I can give him the benefit knowing that I didn’t marry someone who is out to intentionally hurt me. What circumstances are going on in his world that could be creating the stress in him?

Then I might want to consider taking a step back and asking him to also. Can we restart the conversation aware of what is going on in both of us? Do we need to take a time out to focus on “what it is that to you?” before moving forward in the discussion?”. If so can we schedule a time to finish the conversation, even if it it just to say “everything is okay, I was just having a moment. Sorry I took it out on you.”?

Our partner is not our enemy, but we have to first focus on ourselves when there is a conflict instead of jumping up to blame the other person. We can seek resolution within ourselves, taking out our log by reviewing where we are at emotionally and mentally before engaging in something that is destructive for our relationship. What is that to you? It is the compassionate thing to do for yourself, your spouse and your marriage.

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