Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Your Character and My Needs.

Your Character:

Don't criticize one another, brothers. He who criticizes a brother or judges his brother criticizes the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
James 4:11-12 (HCSB)

My Needs:

What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don't they come from the cravings that are at war within you?
James 4:1 (HCSB)

It is interesting to me that when a couple comes to me most often they want to change their spouse.  That is not a slam.  I believe it is human nature to focus on the short comings of others when things are going badly.  Adam did it in the Garden of Eden: 

Then He (God) asked, "Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" Then the man replied, "The woman You gave to be with me-she gave me [some fruit] from the tree, and I ate."
Genesis 3:11-12 (HCSB)

Hmm, Then Eve taking her lead from her husband said:

So the Lord God asked the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "It was the serpent. He deceived me, and I ate."
Genesis 3:13 (HCSB)

So from the very beginning humans have been looking for someone to blame so that they can deny their personal responsibility.  The couple says they want to do what is best for the marriage, but really they want to know whose fault it is.

To which I say, "If you are genuinely interested in having a good marriage then please explain to me how point out the flaws in your spouse's character in excruciatingly painful detail over and over and over again is going make them want to spend the rest of his or her life with you?"  Think about it, would you spend much time in a friendship where the person did this to you?  No!  What about in a job where a boss kept running your character into the ground?  Of course not!  Would you attend a church that all you experienced was criticism from it's members?  No you would not.  So then how in the world can you expect your spouse to have warm fuzzy feelings of love, let alone be around you or stay with you when you continue to point out his or her flaws.

Think about this:  What is the goal of your relationship with your spouse.  For most it would be to love, honor, and cherish one another.  So where does character assassination fit in to that goal.  Does focusing on flaws express love?  Is it honoring to point out in the middle of a heated discussion just how much your spouse's personality annoys you?  Do you feel cherished when your spouse does this to you?  I am convinced that God desires that we focus our on own character first and foremost. 

"Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but don't notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself don't see the log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck in your brother's eye.
Luke 6:41-42 (HCSB)

In my next post I will talk more about focusing on your own personal character in relationships (especially in the marriage relationship). 

But I have got needs

Focusing on personal unmet needs is the surest way to breed discontent in your marriage.  If you spend much time there you will discover that your discontent will either lead you to hold bitterness toward your spouse or look to get those needs met somewhere else. 

Often we confuse needs with desires.  We desire emotional closeness with our spouse, but we need to be the husband or wife that God has called us to be.  By focusing on our role in meeting our spouse's needs then we can overcome discontent, bitterness, unfaithful wandering, and other evil desires.  In addition to this we increase the likelihood that our spouse is going to consider our needs as well.  Finally focusing on your spouse's needs is a good foothold to bringing peace to your marriage.  After all it is difficult to be upset with someone who consistently understands and meets your needs. 

I am convinced that God desires that we meet the needs of other's ahead of demanding that our own needs be met:

No one should seek his own good, but the good of the other person.
1 Corinthians 10:24 (HCSB)

I will post more on meeting needs of your spouse in my next post as well. 

God Bless You During this wonderful season!

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