Life is about choices. Sometimes, choices are a cleardecision between something that is good and something that is bad, desirable rather than undesirable, helpful and not harmful. Other times, choices are tougher; not so much good versus bad, as good versus better. And the really tough choices come when all things considered are equal, but you still have to pick only one course of action.
By its very definition, to choose one thing means you must give up something else. And all choices have an effect—on you and on those around you. So, what do your choices say about your marriage?
- Do your choices honor your spouse, or treat your spouse like he/she is expendable?
- Do your choices show selflessness or selfishness?
- Do your choices honor your marriage vows and marriage covenant?
- Do your choices reflect you and your spouse being “one flesh”?
- Do your choices communicate love?
It is easy to think about choices in general terms, and to minimize the effects of your choices by convincing yourself that you’re doing well in your relationship overall. But I would challenge you to move from general to specific when thinking about the choices you make.
- A husband is overly flirtatious with other women. He knows it bothers his wife, but he continues to do it, saying “that’s just the way I am,” or worse yet tries to turn his bad choice back on his wife by saying “you should be friendlier.”
- A wife is angry at her husband and chooses to say things she knows will push his buttons, or to make him shut down, because winning the fight is more important than the relationship.
- A husband’s hobby or a wife’s shopping addiction is creating financial strain in the marriage, but they decide that “one more trip” to the golf course or to the mall won’t matter.
- A wife denies her husband sexually to punish him.
- A husband decides to look at something on the computer that he knows will destroy his marriage.
- A wife chooses to say hateful things about her husband’s family.
- A husband decides to be emotionally distant from his wife.
- A wife uses her spiritual knowledge to create guilt in her husband and put him down.
You get the gist. Even the little, seemingly insignificant choices—stuff our mates honestly might not even care about—are still important, because every choice shapes our character, our integrity, and our relationship to our spouses. Every choice says something about the way I feel about my mate. Every choice conveys some level of honor and commitment to my marriage covenant. Every choice acknowledges or denies God’s presence in my marriage.
Please understand, the point of this post is not to make you feel guilty or hyper-sensitive, like you have to walk on egg shells around your mate. Life is about choices. We are all human. We all make good choices and bad choices. When your mate makes a bad choice, be willing to forgive. When you do make choices you wish you hadn’t made, don’t let guilt consume you. Just learn from it, and do whatever you can to cultivate an ongoing environment of godly, marriage-honoring choices within your relationship.
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