Yet, far too many Christian men and women believe they are responsible for the behavior of their spouse.
- A young wife and mother regularly makes hurtful, cutting remarks to her in-laws. Her husband defends her vigorously by talking on and on about what an amazing person she really is.
- A man continues to have have problems with his employer. He has had a variety of jobs in the last fifteen years. Each one of these have ended in a clash with management. Meanwhile, his spouse tells their friends that he is so talented and smart but just can’t find an employer who will appreciate him.
- A father repeatedly breaks promises to his children while he pursues his own pleasures and interests. Meanwhile, his wife defends him to these children, telling them what an awesome father he really is. Yes, these kids are confused.
Marriage can be difficult. Yet, what heightens the difficulty for some is the belief that you must constantly defend, excuse, or justify your spouse’s behavior.
Here is the good news. You are responsible for your own behavior. Your are not, however, responsible for the behavior of your spouse. Nor, are you responsible for explaining or justifying his or her behavior to others.
Paying attention to these realities can take pressure off a married person. It is difficult enough to live your own life as a married person without unnecessary added pressure.
A few suggestions:
1. By the grace of God, take responsibility for your words and actions. It is not up to you, however, to try to explain his rudeness, immaturity, or thoughtlessness. Nothing confuses a child more than a parent who attempts to justify such behavior from the child’s dad or mom.
2. Stop trying to create certain impressions in the minds of others regarding your spouse. There are some wives and husbands who seem almost desperate to create certain impressions. This is an exhausting way to live. Our job is not to create certain impressions. Our task is to live as obedient disciples of Jesus. Our focus is on the reality of our lives not the creating of a certain impression.
3. Be the person you have been called to be. You cannot force your spouse to mature. You cannot insist that he or she grow. However, you can mature and you can grow. Instead of always trying to push him into being what he should be, focus on your own maturity and functioning. Not only is this more productive but it puts the focus where it should be.
What would you add to these three?