Let’s unpack a few more heirlooms, shall we? Here are two that have served Todd and me very well over the years. They require some serious discipline, but the outcome is worth the effort!
2. Treat your spouse as if he/she were already the person you know they could be. Spoken by my paternal grandmother, Mildred Duncan. This sage advice is not a call to human optimism, which amounts to little more than wishful thinking. It is a call to faith in a powerful God. Believe me when I tell you that no amount of nose-twitching, finger-crossing or cheerleading will ever turn your spouse into the person you think they should be, especially if God has something else in mind. However, God is faithful and will complete the work He began in them one way or another. Keep critical thoughts and comments to yourself, and let the Master do the pruning. In time, paying your spouse the respect God’s workmanship deserves will be no problem at all.
3. Don’t dish on your spouse. Learned by watching my friend Cindy Lankford do it right and many other women do it wrong. We all get frustrated with our spouses from time to time. When that happens, most people vent to others. However, there is a difference between presenting necessary facts to those who might be able to offer godly advice and painting your spouse out to be a careless, selfish, unintelligent, and/or mean-spirited person to anyone who will listen. We all show our dark side from time to time, but very few of us are truly awful people. To paint an accurate picture of your spouse to others, you would need to collect the same audience and say many more positive things about your spouse than negative over the course of time, and you would need to tell every apology story with as much energy and enthusiasm as you told the story of wrong-doing. The trouble is people don’t want to hear that. They just want the dish so that they can feel better about whatever it was their spouse did wrong yesterday. Don’t give it to them. As soon as the mad you’ve got worked up disappears, you’ll wish you hadn’t exposed the one you love most. If what you have to say about your spouse is untrue, unkind, or unnecessary, it’s gossip. Keep it to yourself. Like they say, “Go to the throne, not the phone!”
To be continued…