Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves (Philippians 2:3).
Jesus Illustrated: Jesus is so secure in His relationship with you that He can receive any of your sinful angry responses and other disappointments with Him in grace. He provides you with a wide berth to share your most troubling thoughts with Him.
He permits these things because He’s for you, which He dramatically proved by taking your place on the cross. I’m not suggesting you should be angry with God, but if that were the case, your frustration would never manipulate or manage Him, and it would not sever the relationship you have with Him. He always listens and loves you in response to your good and bad behavior (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:8). That is the kind of love husbands and wives should imitate to each other.
Insecurity Illustrated: Biff is immature and insecure. If Mable says anything that he perceives as a negative toward him, their marriage, and the need for him to change, Biff takes it personally and usually sulks in response to her remarks.
Mable does not believe she can be candid with Biff because of his insecurities. Biff’s immaturity causes her to take a guarded posture, rather than her speaking openly and honestly about what is going on between them. From her perspective, it is more like talking to a child, where she must measure and weigh before she shares something (John 16:2).
Mable is pulling double duty: not only does she have to care for her soul, but she has to care for her husband’s soul too. She has to grow him up before he can contribute to her sanctification. She tries not to be self-righteous about it, but it is hard. Biff is a weak, immature, and insecure husband. He does not process things through a biblical lens. He responds to things through his past personal experiences and hurts. (His dad was a mean and condemning man, who was a significant shaping influence on Biff’s life.)
Biff is a tedious man, which weighs heavy on Mable’s soul. She grows weary being around him because of his deep insecurity. There is ongoing and seemingly unresolvable “in-equitableness” in their relationship. It is similar to a college student married to an eighth-grader. Biff is so different from Christ. He esteems himself more than he esteems his wife, which disables him from being Christ to her.
All Christians carry baggage from their old person and into their new creation that God is making. In most marriages, there is an “in-equitableness” in how the two partners are growing up in Christ, which makes sense because each Christian is unique, never in the same place as other Christians, even if they are married to each other. It would be a monumental mistake to expect your spouse to be like you.
If you thought about your strengths first, you might not have that “other-worldly lack of self-interest” like Christ. The danger is that if you think more about where you get it right and where your spouse gets it wrong, you may start collecting a list of sins like anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, and resignation, which will sabotage any redemptive progress you could have with your spouse.
If you can, share with your spouse one of your weaknesses and how you need their help to work through it. Your marriage may not be at this level of maturity. If not, perhaps it would prove wise to find outside help.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).