Monday, 30 July 2012

Why Bother? They Will Never Change

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17

In his book The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller addresses a delicate subject that has more than likely contributed to the downward spiral of many marriages.  Specifically I am referring to our unwillingness as husbands and wives to confront sin in one another with the express purpose of helping our mate to become more like Christ.  By sin I am not necessarily talking about something egregious and I’m not inferring that you may not have what would be considered by most a “good” marriage.

What does this mean and why are we reluctant?

Some of us are conflict avoiders.  As I’m sure I have said in a previous blog, if conflict avoidance were an Olympic event I would be representing the US in Britain this year. 

Somewhere along the way we came to believe that keeping the peace, regardless of the cost was the noble thing to do.  Some of us fear the reaction of the other person.  Some of us, wanting to appear to be humble, wouldn’t think of pointing out someone else’s sin to them.  Still others of us are afraid that if we were to speak the truth in love that we would in some way jeopardize the feelings of love that the other person bestows on us.

Unfortunately the bottom line for the rationale stated above is self-centeredness, which is in my opinion the number one problem in any marriage.  Keeping the peace at all costs was not something Christ was known for.  By fearing the other person’s reaction and/or fear of losing their affection, the fact is that I am concerned about the effect my exhortation would have on me.  The Bible calls us to speak the truth in love – so much for humility.  God is far more concerned about our holiness than our happiness.  God has placed your partner and mine in our lives as though we were instruments in the hands of our Redeemer.  We are each an extremely important component in the sanctification process of our partners and they in ours.

Some keys:

1.    Ask your partner to be part of your sanctification process.

     2.    Think before you speak – Proverbs 12:18.  Actually pray before you speak.

3.    Speak the truth in love and then only that which is helpful for building her/him up.  Ephesians 4:29.

4.    Avoid using certain phrases, i.e. “you never and you always”, etc.

5.    Use “I” messages “I am concerned that we are not growing spiritually as a couple.”

6.    Be absolutely positive that your partner believes that you truly love him/her.

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