catch up on past posts here:
the thing about marriage is that it is still real life. but it is real life where you cannot easily hide. you are exposed to your spouse. as people grow, they change. marriage brings out some things about you that maybe you didn't even know about yourself. and now it is all seen by your spouse. when this happens, it may seem to one spouse that they are married to a stranger.
do you remember the talk about the mission of marriage & how part of the mission is to help each other grow out of sins and into the person God is creating? if we expect this to be part of marriage, then we will expect seasons where our spouse feels like a stranger. and instead of being caught off guard, we will be ready to help our spouse work through it.
an important thing to remember is that no one else is as hurt by your flaws as your spouse is. because of this, your spouse is more aware of what is wrong with you than anyone ever has been before. marriage doesn't create your weaknesses, but it certainly does reveal them and force you to pay attention to them. since your spouse is the one who is closest to the action, you need to allow him or her to speak into your life and speak to you about your sin. we need to accept each other in love, but also not allowing the other to destroy him or herself with sin. in other words, we need to be like Jesus.
at the same time, we need to remember that this sin is not permanent. every day both spouses are being shaped by God and growing into their glory-self. because of this, we shouldn't allow our spouses sin to turn us away from them, but instead we should work through the sin together.
one very important way to love your spouse, is to speak their love language. it is not enough for me to simply show my husband love the way that i want to be shown love, but i need to learn the way that he likes to be shown love. one of my primary love languages is quality time - i really feel like someone loves me if they take the time to spend quality time with me. one of Thomas's primary love languages is touch. he likes to hold hands, hug, and kiss. so it's not enough for me to just spend time with Thomas, but i need to make an effort to hold his hand and hug him because that's how he accepts love. just as Jesus came to earth in a manner we could understand, we need to communicate love to our spouse in a way they understand.
Tim touched on love being a covenant a few weeks back. and now he explains further why the covenant is so important. the phrase "the honeymoon stage" was thought of for a reason. when you first feel in love, it is an emotional high. but eventually the high wears off and "the honeymoon stage" ends. when this happens, love becomes a choice that you make each day. when this happens, if each spouse has learned how to speak the other's love language, each will feel as if their needs for love are satisfied. if we choose not to speak their love language, we will feel as if our need for love is unmet.
we talked about speaking into each other's lives and calling out sin, but Tim gives a warning about this as well. because of the relationship of a husband & wife, our words hold great weight and great power. if we speak the truth to our spouse but do not speak it in a loving way, it does not help them, it only destroys them. cutting remarks go deeper than any blade. truth and love are only effective if they are kept together. when we feel loved by our spouse, and they point out a weakness in our life, we will have the security to admit our flaws and work on them.
in order for truth and love to be kept together, however, both spouses must be good at forgiving and good at repenting. before we confront each other about sin, we must first forgive them. without forgiving them first, the confrontation will be more hurtful than helpful. because Jesus saw our sin and covered it, we can see our spouse's sin but cover it with forgiveness.