By Sarah Logan, Contributing Writer
Hear ye, hear ye: Since royal heralds are no longer in operation, I shall resort to the use of this blog to Publicly Announce the UN-Acceptables of Marriage. It could be that you missed this proclamation at some point in your life, so make haste to read on and discover what should be plainly obvious!By the way, these apply to most relationships as well.
Let us first define our terms: Unacceptable – made up of three parts:
1. UN – meaning non, negative, reverse, opposite of.
2. Accept – to be okay, to be received, allowable, permissible, condoned.
3. Able – the ability to, the capability of, the standard of application.
Marriage: the union of Husband and Wife
Relationships: the interaction of persons with each other on a small or large scale.
The List of UnAcceptables of Marriage and Relationships
1. Thou shalt not blame thy spouse.
“But wait a minute! She did XYZ and now look what’s happened! What do you mean I can’t blame her?!”
Let me remind you of 429. This is code speak for Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth but only what is helpful to build others up, according to their needs, that it might benefit those who listen.” Unwholesome would include blaming words.
It is UNacceptable to lay blame. Need I point out that it isn’t exactly helpful, it doesn’t build him/her up, it doesn’t bring progress or change, it only wounds and induces guilt that festers and divides close friends. You may see temporary results – based on fear and nagging and such. But blaming is never okay in marriage.
There are times to gently confront and share your disappointments and resolve issues. But blaming tends to be in exasperation, frustration and anger – it tends to wither any goodwill that exists in your relationship.
2. Thou shalt not put thy spouse under the microscope.
“But I thought I was here to improve his life! Surely God would have me recognize areas of needed growth in his life and be the excellent counsellor that I am in order to make him a better, more-efficient, wonderful person!”
Sorry – try again. You do not get to analyze your spouse to determine his/her faults and areas of needed change. That is God the Holy Spirit’s job. Try to let HIM do the work and you do your part to lovingly accept him/her in spite of the things you think are so glaringly faulty.
How do you like being put under a microscope? (Oh, you think you’re so well-adjusted that there is no fault in you? Be reminded of the log and the speck: “You try so hard to remove the speck from your brother’s eye all the while you have a log in your own.” Luke 6:42)
3. Thou shalt not allow selfish habits to go unchecked.
“I’ve always watched this show while consuming a huge bowl of popcorn. She’ll just have to get used to it.”
“I never miss the games my favorite teams play. And that’s final.”
“I know he’s a meat-eater, but I’m a vegetarian so he’ll just have to live with our new diet.”
“I have always had this time-consuming hobby. I won’t allow marriage to change that. I will do as I please, when I please, thank you very much.”
“I don’t want to resent my spouse or marriage, so I am going to make sure I get my me-time in no matter what.” (Does that include when all the kids have stomach flu and are puking their guts out and the milk is low and your spouse has to work late?)
Selfish habits do not contribute to the joy of marriage. Sure, they won’t vanish over night. But there is no taking a pass on these things. It is UNacceptable to ignore the selfish habits in your life and expect marriage to be a blessing. Seek to be a blessing to your spouse and commit to work on your selfish habits until they fade into the background.
4. Thou shalt not complain.
Complaining to a spouse sounds innocent enough. But when it is about the spouse you are actually making your complaint to God. You are seeking to fix your spouse to your liking. Complaining is not looked upon fondly by our Creator.
5. Thou shalt not make your spouse responsible for your happiness.
This is a burden he/she was never meant to take upon him/herself. When you insinuate that you cannot be happy unless ____________ you basically push him/her into a corner and hold them responsible for your emotional state. This is not good. Quit it.
6. Thou shalt not hinder your spouse’s freedom to be the person God has called him/her to be.
God may call your spouse to minister to someone in your church, community or a friend. Even though marriage is central to your life, if you stand in the way of his/her freedom to serve others you are doing a disservice to your marriage. If you struggle with insecurity – thinking you are not as important to your spouse as other things – there are ways to address this and grow together. But hampering each other’s freedom is a fast track to disharmony.
7. Thou shalt not isolate each other from Church, family or much-needed counsel and help.
Simply because you fear for your reputation or because you cringe to think anyone would know you are having problems, it is not enough to warrant your efforts to isolate yourselves from those you need the most. Take your pride and your reputation to the foot of the cross and recognize we all fall far short of what God’s ideal is for us. Get over it and get involved with those who will strengthen your union.