Last weekend, we went to a marriage conference at church. The speaker, Paul Tripp, a very engaging and intelligent man, said so much of value that I have pages and pages of notes from the two sessions with him. MUCH of what he said has been flashing through my mind this week, but today there was one thing in particular.
Tripp started out by telling us that the “little” moments are important. Those mundane, day to day moments are important because that is what our lives are made up of, “that is the address where you live.” And in those little moments, we cannot allow the actions of our spouses to dictate our own actions, because our words and behavior are more formed by what is inside of us than what is outside of us.
We looked at Luke 6:43-45— about how your words and actions are a result of what is in your heart. All marriage problems have roots in the heart. I have a million great quotes and more Scripture on this, but the gist of it is that I cannot use anything Brian does or says to justify not loving him. No matter what, I have to show him love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control– but ultimately, that is the purpose that God has for me.
I have to put Brian before myself, even though it goes against everything in my selfish, sinful nature. I have to put Brian first, even when I don’t feel good, I’m hungry, and I just want to go home. I have to put Brian first when he snaps at me or upsets me. This is SO contrary to our natures, but that’s because we’re corrupted by sin. But I have to look at Brian through God’s eyes and value the creation, even when that creation is annoying or doesn’t pay attention to me or doesn’t treat me the way I think I deserve to be treated.
So, this is what I’ve been struggling with today. When I perceive Brian to be choosing his iPhone over me, I can’t decide to ignore him. That’s the patience. When he says something about my driving, I can’t start screaming. That’s the peace.
I’m not trying to pick on my husband here, I’m just being honest. I assure you that he has to display MUCH more of these characteristics on a regular basis in this marriage than I. I just happen to be the one writing this post.
If they aren’t familiar to you, those characteristics in paragraph three are called the fruits of the Spirit. They’re the characteristics that grow in you when you’re really focused on God– they’re what He wants for our lives. I need to repeat them to myself ALL the time these days– like a mantra. They’re the goal.