Marriage Day 3: His Problems, Her Problems: One Problem

Marriage Day 3: His Problems, Her Problems: One Problem

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31-Day Marriage Devotion Resources

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:24).

I watched my wife go through three miscarriages. They happened to her. It was her pain, her disappointment, her fear, but they were my miscarriages, too. I did not feel hurt the way she did. I have no idea of the physical, mental, and emotional agony of a miscarriage—at least not the way she does. But I hurt because she was hurting. I hurt because I lost something, too. We are one flesh. When someone murdered my brother in 1997, my wife hurt along with me. She did not hurt the way I did, but she hurt because her husband was hurting. We are not two people acting independently of each other. We are one body (Hebrews 13:3). When I sin—no matter what it is—my wife has a responsibility for that sin. She would never say, “That’s Rick’s problem. That’s his sin.” No, it’s our sin. She is not guilty of my sin, she does not repent of my sin, and God does not consider her guilty for my sin, but she has a role to play because she is me, and I am her—we are one.

When I sin, she runs to my aid by calling me out and bringing corrective care. She becomes my discipler—my mentor. Similar to when an arm is cut by a briar, the body comes to the rescue. Too often, when one marriage partner sins, the other spouse acts as though they are not part of the one flesh union. This kind of marriage detachment is Job’s wife syndrome: the non-sinning spouse gets mad when the other spouse is in trouble (Job 2:9). Ironically, this means both of them are sinning. When two people respond sinfully to sin, they both are guilty before God and before each other, regardless of who was first to fall. They both need to repent. It’s like cursing your arm when it gets cut. That’s weird; it’s your body. You shouldn’t get mad at yourself when something happens to you. Are you following my logic?

It is biblical insanity to get mad at your spouse when they sin. When part of the body rejects another part of the body, you have a schism in the body. You must call a doctor, or, in this case, if you’re unwilling to repent, you better call your pastor or some other competent helper. Your one flesh union needs help. Are you a rescuer and restorer, or are you a critic and condemner? You’ll never be more tested on this than when your spouse does something that annoys you. Perhaps it would be helpful to remember that your spouse is an instrument the Lord uses to mature you. God will use sin sinlessly to transform His children. We see this in Paul’s warning about a person in sin and a person who helps that soul in sin. Take a look at these three verses and note how much time Paul spent talking to the helper (47 words) rather than the person in sin (7 words).

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself (Galatians 6:1-3).

If you don’t see your spouse’s problem as your problem, you won’t be an active part of the solution, and your marriage will go to places where it cannot recover. Paul warned the restorers to guard their hearts against this kind of self-deception.

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Time to Reflect

  1. How would you characterize yourself as it pertains to your spouse: are you more of a restorer or condemner?
  2. Do you see your spouse’s problems as your problems? Please explain.

Practical Suggestion

Write down one area in which your spouse is weak and how you provide the strength needed to compensate for their weakness. Name one area where you are weak and your spouse complements you with their strength.

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