Wednesday, February 28th 2018

"When you’re so busy and so focused on tasks, this leaves little room for any real talk, discussion, or encouragement." -Andy Wendling

I’ve been married for 10 years and have two young children who are involved in many activities. Our week consists of both of us working full time and my wife running kids back and forth to activities and taking online college classes. Sometime in this mess we try to have a dinner that isn’t fast food, help the kids get homework done, keep up with the never-ending laundry, and keep the house clean. Our daily conversation quickly turns into business transaction conversation only, with the focus on what needs to be done, how does it need to be done, and who needs to be where at what time.

What happens when something isn’t done on time, something isn’t done up to the other’s standards, or when the daily schedule doesn’t go right? My initial reaction is of course to criticize, to be sure my wife knows she messed up. She certainly needs to know how much harder my life is now that she screwed up. These glaring daily errors are typically much easier to notice than the millions of things that she does perfectly every day. When this gets reciprocated, it leads to mostly negative talk to each other. When you’re so busy and so focused on tasks, this leaves little room for any real talk, discussion, or encouragement.

Ephesians 4:2 says, “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”

Now, this verse isn’t specific to just married couples, it’s for everyone. However, shouldn’t the love of our lives be the ones we are the most humble and gentle with? Shouldn’t we be more patient with them and have more room for their shortcomings? Again, my initial reaction to this is faulty, it’s to look at my wife and see how she falls short in this area. She’s not always patient, gentle, or forgiving. The point, however, isn’t to push this onto someone else, it’s to have God’s Word transform our lives! Take the time to memorize this verse and recite it every time you feel anger or resentment towards your spouse. Be patient and gentle with them. Look inside yourself, don’t push this off on your spouse.  Your spouse may not reciprocate, and that is no excuse for you not to follow God’s command. So, what can we do instead of pointing out all our spouse’s flaws?

Ephesians 4:29 says, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”

Again, this verse isn’t specific to marriage. This verse applies to all Christians, and it should be applied even more so in a marriage. My wife doesn’t need me to tell her everything that she’s done wrong; her family, her boss, her co-workers, and social media already do enough of that for her. She needs me to be an encouragement to her. I don’t need her to tell me how I did something wrong, sometimes I just need to know that she believes in me.

I encourage you to be very intentional about the words you choose when talking to your spouse. Certainly, we need to have some “business transaction” talk, however, don’t let this slide into negative talk. Let’s be our spouse’s biggest cheerleader, not their biggest critic!

Andy Wendling has been a part of Friendship Church since 2009. He is a Welcome Team Leader and is humbled and honored to serve as an Elder at Friendship Church. Andy grew up in Michigan, so don’t be surprised to see him in Wolverine’s gear. He attended college at Ball State University and completed his graduate work at IUPUI. Currently he works as a physical therapist at Johnson Memorial Hospital. He married his beautiful wife, Theresa, in 2007. He has a step son, Isiah, in college at Ball State, a daughter, Emerson, and a son, Gavin. He likes to spend his time playing with his kids, watching sports, working out, playing golf and soccer, and reading.