“A good marriage isn’t something you find; it’s something you make and you have to keep on making it.” – Gary Thomas
Too often married couples rely on agreement rather than acceptance. But the fact of the matter is true love relies on acceptance, not agreement. True love accepts the other person whether you agree with them and whether they have flaws. Priceless love accepts the person (no matter who or where they are) with the understanding that it is God’s job to fix them, not ours.
It is interesting that the traits that initially drew you to your spouse that you may have to come to terms with after you are married. For instance, you may have a husband who is clearly watching the family money, and even now that money is less tight, he still watches every nickel and dime. You may have been impressed by his frugalness while dating but now you think he is just cheap. Or maybe you’re married to a wife who is very detailed-oriented. While you were dating, you appreciated her everything has a place and everything in its place mentality. Now, it seems like all she does is nag you to put everything in the right place. Accepting your spouse can be hard. So hard, you decide the best course of action is to grin and bear it, but you soon realize that strategy doesn’t work.
Every marriage has difficult moments. We should expect that. We’re marrying people that the Bible promises will stumble in many ways. You will not find many people who tell you marriage is easy. Rewarding? Yes. Character-forming? Absolutely. But easy? Never. Understanding that marriage is not easy and takes hard work and commitment should make us appreciate our spouse. We should appreciate our spouse who is willing to overlook our flaws and who is willing to walk side-by-side on this journey with us.
“If you knew my spouse, you would understand why I can’t just accept him or her?” We all have the tendency to overlook our faults while magnifying the flaws of our spouse. Jesus could not have been clearer: “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” (Luke 6:41-42).
We’re not called to judge our spouses—ever. We are called to love them. We are not called to recount their failures—we’re called to encourage them. We are not called to build a case against them, we are called to honor, respect and accept them.
Every one of us is married to an imperfect spouse. We confront different trials, different temptations, and different struggles—but each one of us faces the same reality: living as imperfect people, in an imperfect world, with an imperfect spouse. Learning to love, appreciate, accept and to be thankful for that imperfect spouse is one of the most important things you can do.
- What does accepting another person mean to you?
- What can you do this week to improve the acceptance level of your spouse?