Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource.
This week’s selection is How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong by Leslie Vernick.
If you’re married, you have an imperfect marriage. You have a spouse who sometimes acts wrong and so does he or she.
Marriages are imperfect, because people are imperfect. If we have accepted Christ and begun that redemptive journey, hopefully, we are on the road to becoming more like Him, but none of us has arrived!
It may be that both you and your spouse are seeking to be the husband and wife God wants you to be, but even then we fail at times. It may be that your spouse is sinning in much larger and more damaging ways.
Sin is in all of us (Romans 3: 23). Attitudes and behaviors that come out of a self-centered, selfish, prideful, deceived, and/ or rebellious heart often express themselves in big, bad ways such as infidelity, lying, addictions, or abuse. The same sinful heart can also produce more benign but chronically irritating behaviors such as nagging and criticism, forgetting important occasions, failing to put dirty laundry in the hamper, not listening well, or staying glued to the television when our spouse is attempting to have a conversation with us. It can be just as difficult and discouraging to believe God and live by faith with a spouse who sins in subtle, less blatant ways as it can when a spouse commits the more grievous wrongs.
Most of us acknowledge that there are no perfect marriages or perfect spouses. We know that having a good marriage requires effort and hard work. At times, however, in the midst of that pain and struggle we can lose sight of what marriage is all about. We forget that we have made a covenant promise to love for better or worse. In the better times, love is usually easy. When worse comes, we often don’t know how to continue to love when we are angry, hurt, scared, or don’t feel very loving. We also aren’t exactly sure what that kind of love is supposed to look like. Do we just forbear? Forgive and forget? How and when do we apply the bolder forms of love?
Sadly, many just give up. The rate of divorce among believers isn’t much different than with couples outside the church, even though most of them know that God wants them to stay and work out their differences.
Others stay but become cold toward their spouses and toward God, believing He has commanded them to stay in an unhappy marriage. Others simply resign themselves and go about living two separate lives in one house.
Leslie’s book is a great resource for understanding what God is up to in our marriage struggles. She gives great advice for acting right when your spouse acts wrong without making it a list of “rules,” because every marriage and ever situation is different.
Acting right doesn’t always mean merely turning the other cheek. It doesn’t mean ignoring serious patterns of sin like abuse and unfaithfulness. Sometimes acting right means loving confrontation. Sometimes it means going to others who can help. Sometimes it means leaving, even temporarily, for your own safety or that of your children. But it always means responding in ways that are pleasing to God and growing to understand how He is working in you as a result.
In How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong, you will begin to see yourself and your marriage through the lens of God’s eternal purposes. You will learn how God uses the imperfections, differences, and sins of your spouse to help you grow to be more like Christ. This book will help you learn how to love and to keep your promises when it is hard. When you don’t feel like it. When you are not getting much in return. And probably most important, this book will show you why this is good for you to learn.
How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong is a great resource for every married couple and for those who plan to be married. It can help each of us change and grow in the midst of every kind of marital struggle.
Quotations taken from:
Vernick, Leslie. How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong (Indispensable Guides for Godly Living). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
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