As part of the fulfilment of the church theme of “Christ-centred Relationship, Godly Families”, the PSPC Family Life Ministry will feature special articles on marriage, parenting and singlehood in the bulletin on a fortnightly basis.
Your Spouse Is Not Your Enemy
By Focus on the Family Singapore
“If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” — Mark 3:25
Ever felt like you and your spouse were on two sides of the battlefield trying to wage war with one another? Maybe you raise your voice to emphasize a point and your spouse raises their voice right back (or retreats to another room). Perhaps you nitpick one another endlessly to show how the other could do it better, differently, or more like you.
There are probably countless scenarios in which you might feel that you and your spouse are not on the same page. If you find yourself in competition with your spouse on a regular basis, it probably leaves you feeling pretty discouraged and weary.
Unity is the goal of marriage
The purpose of marriage has never been about competition with one another. God’s Word describes marriage this way: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). It does not describe competition, but unity. Unity is the goal of marriage, not total sameness in thinking, acting, and believing all the same things.
God desires unity of purpose to glorify Him, while honoring, admiring, and accepting uniqueness. After all, the body of Christ is called to be unified but cannot function unless many diverse body parts are present. Likewise, you and your spouse are both important to your team, and your team is important to God, your children and those around you. It is time today to think about how you might break that competitive cycle.
Look for evidence that your marriage is a team
Remember that you and your spouse are on the same team. Commit to relating to each other cooperatively, not competitively. Truth is, if you keep looking for evidence that your spouse is your enemy, you will find it. However, if you want to see your marriage as a team, then start looking for evidence that it could be. When you see such evidence, affirm it and don’t minimize what you find.
Embrace differences and let them be opportunities for growth. You and your spouse are both uniquely created individuals. Are you willing to see your spouse as a person to whom God has given unique gifts, talents and experiences? Would you be willing to embrace and value the way your spouse differs from you? You would see your spouse in a whole new way if you do.
Don’t get me wrong, differences can be a great source of frustration. This is why they present as growth opportunities if you are willing to view them as such. As a result of these differences, you will grow in how to manage frustration, embrace someone who is different from you, and begin to change something about yourself for the better.
There is an enemy, but it’s not your spouse
Know that there is an adversary; it’s just not your mate. Scripture describes this adversary as roaming about like a lion waiting to devour. He is also described as a thief who is bent on robbing, killing and destroying (John 10:10). That is who our true enemy is.
Act more like a teammate and less like an adversary. Teammates work tirelessly to practice and hone their skills individually while also learning how to fit into the team. Are you willing to commit to that? Are you willing to put the effort into running the race (marathon) of your marriage to the best of your ability regardless of how the other runner shows up?
Focus on God to run the race together
Commit to be the best team member you can be. As Christians, we are called to run the race. We are to sacrifice something to pursue Christ and become more like Him. You might think you can’t do that, because your situation is too challenging. I would agree with you that you can’t do it alone. That is precisely the point; you can’t, but God can. We cannot be great teammates on our own, but we serve a God who is way bigger than the problems we face. That doesn’t mean we stop trying. It means we have to keep our focus on where our true strength lies (see Philippians 4:13).
I hope these ideas are helpful to you becoming a team player in your marriage. They have been of help to me in mine. If you pursue this, there will be difficult moments but there also could be great rewards. Let me offer you the first words of encouragement as any good fan would do, “Go Team!”
Adapted from Your Spouse is Not the Enemy by Brett Sparks
© 2014 Focus on the Family.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.