Today's post is by Mary Beth of New Life Steward.
I will tell you all day long that I believe in Covenant Marriage. I believe that love is a choice. I believe that I have committed to choose to love my husband despite what he does or does not do. I believe this is the Biblical way of marriage. But honestly, sometimes, I find myself keeping score. I just changed a poopy diaper. Now it's his turn. I sorted, washed, dried, and folded the laundry. He can hang up what's left. I've been at home alone with Thomas all day. He's in charge of bath and bed time tonight. I cooked dinner. He has to clean up. On and on it goes. Tit for tat. Mentally, I aim to keep the "score" even. Then I get irritable when I feel like things are out of balance--when I feel like I'm doing my fair share and some of his too. Suddenly thoughts explode into: "well if he's not going to do anything, neither am I. We will see how long he lasts then! That will teach him!" And the truth comes out. My actions tell another story. My actions and thoughts show a contract marriage: as long as you do your part, I'll do mine. My desire is to live Biblically with my words, my thoughts, and my actions. So what does that mean for my marriage? I need to change my thinking to align with my beliefs--then my actions will follow.
The Common Way: Thinking in a Contract Marriage
For the majority of my life, I--along with most people in Western culture--viewed marriage as a contract. If you find yourself having these thoughts, you may be viewing your marriage more like a contract:
- He did work all day so I guess I have to cook dinner.
- I did the laundry last week, so now it's his turn.
- He hasn't done anything all day long. Tomorrow it's my turn.
- I swear, if I have to pick up his dirty boxers off the floor one more time!
The Biblical Way: A Covenant View of Marriage
How can we change our thoughts to align with a covenant view?
- We remind ourselves that by serving our spouse we are serving the Lord (Eph. 6:7).
- When our spouses frustrate us, we remind ourselves that we are sinners, too (Rom. 3:23).
- We think about ways to love and honor them.
- We remind ourselves of how Christ continues in His love for us even when we continue in our sin (Rom. 5:8).
A Word of Caution: Please do not read between the lines and hear me say that if you are in an abusive relationship of any kind-verbal, emotional, spiritual, physical, or sexual-that you should physically stay there to honor your covenant vows. Absolutely you need to leave and seek safety for yourself and any children in the situation. However, I do believe that we are called to remain married and pray diligently for God to change our spouses. That is a hard truth, but He alone is able.
Photo Source: Geoffrey Fairchild