April 8, 2009
What I Hate, I Do
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do,
but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15 (NIV)
He came home from work, feeling tired I am sure. But instead of complaining, he rolled his sleeves up and jumped right in making french toast and frying bacon for our dinner. As he worked, he told me about the rough day he had—more than 100 people had been laid off at his company. While he had not been laid off, he felt sorry for those who had been, and wondered if he would be on the next list of names.
After dinner, he tackled bath times with the younger kids. After they were safely tucked into bed, he took one son with him to the store. He returned home happy, reeling off the things on the list he had gotten for me.
"You didn't get the vitamins," I told him. "That was the whole reason you went!" His smile disappeared. Bewildered, he offered to go back out and get the vitamins if we really needed them. "Well, of course we do or I wouldn't have asked for them," I said. He left again. It was late. He was tired.
He returned home for the second time, happy again, brandishing an off brand bottle of the vitamins I had asked for. "These were buy one, get one free!" he said, waving two boxes, one in each hand. I took one look at those boxes and sneered.
"There are some things you don't bargain shop for," I chided. He slunk off to the kitchen to stow the vitamins in the cabinet, out of sight. Later, he fell asleep on the couch, the book he had attempted to read rising and falling on his chest as he slept.
This is an actual scene from life at my house. This morning as I was in prayer, God brought that scene to mind, allowing me to see my ugliness. Here we see this really great guy trying to serve and love and give - and here we see his snippy, unappreciative wife totally dropping the ball on loving and serving him in return. Instead we see how she wants her own way and pouts like a two year-old when she doesn't get it. We see that, once again, her need to say little unnecessary comments surfaces. We see her focusing on the negative and missing so much positive in the process.
Today I was reminded again of what I have - and what I stand to lose. My words wound or, at the very least, fall far short of what they could bring to my husband's life. I choose to nitpick instead of nurture. I choose to litigate instead of love. I hate these choices I make, and yet, again and again I go back to this same driving need to plead my case, assert my rights, get my way, and be first. When God asks me to be willing to be last (Mark 9:35). In life. And in marriage.
I want to do better, to speak kinder, to look for the many good things instead of seizing on the bad. I want to be a wife who brings him good and not harm all the days of her life (Proverbs 31:12). I am working on it, but some days I fall right back into flesh patterns that are so evil and ugly I recoil at my own image when it's played out for me. I know better - I should do better.
Tomorrow, I will try again. And, Honey? Thanks for hanging in there on days when I don’t.
Dear Lord, help me to honor my husband with my words, my deeds and my thoughts. Help me to realize that my words matter. I can choose to build him up or tear him down. Help me to choose to build him up and give me the strength to do so. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Becoming a Woman of Influence (CD) by Marybeth Whalen
Visit Marybeth’s blog
The next time you are tempted to speak unkind words to your husband, pray first, recognizing that God can give you victory over your flesh through His Spirit.
A question I ask myself often is: Is it more important for you to be right or in relationship?
Romans 8:6, “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” (NIV)
Galatians 5:17, “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” (NIV)
© 2009 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Wednesday, 08 April 2009.