Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The Wrong Tool

“You can’t fix a broken lawn mower with a waffle iron.  When it comes to fixing our spouse we are the wrong tool” Steven Arterburn The 7 Minute Marriage Solution

To say that I am not handy would be a gross understatement.  However I did pick up some wisdom that says “it always helps to have the right tools to make the job at hand easier.”  Now when you don’t know which end of a hammer to use the likelihood that you own many tools is slim and none.  Ergo even when I have tried to fix something invariably I was missing the right tool. 

So it is easy to see why the Arterburn quote struck me with such force.  One question that came to mind, among several, was “Why are we the wrong tool?”  Because isn’t an answer.  For one thing when criticism, even when politely disguised, is offered it drives a wedge in between the husband and wife.  It conveys, “I’m not satisfied with who you are.  And I think that I can improve upon some aspects of God’s design.”  While we would never utter those words that is how the person being “fixed” feels.

Not only does the attempt to fix our spouse it send the message that “you are not good enough” it indirectly says that the one doing the fixing is in some way superior.

At this point it would be perfectly fair for the few of you who may have read one of my other blogs to say, “Wait a minute, I know you have written that our spouse is an instrument in the Redeemer’s hand, i.e. God uses our husband/wife as part of His sanctification process.”  (Sanctification is the life long process during which a believer is growing to become more like Jesus). That would be true.

So let me try to wiggle out of what seems to be an obvious contradiction.  First of all there are aspects of our behavior that are part of our sin nature.  This is where the phrase, “speak the truth in love” comes in to play.  If as a spouse if I have anger issues, an addiction, a sarcastic wit that is hurtful to others, a self-righteous attitude, impatience, a critical spirit, etc., etc. there is no one in a better position to call my attention to such ungodly behavior than my spouse.  Hopefully she will pray about when and how to approach me and over the years, because she has displayed such a love for me, I willingly, though a little defensively, will listen to her.

God can also use our spouse’s irritating habits to force us to look at our own heart and thus bring about a change but that’s a topic for another blog.



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