Married couples occasionally fight or argue. Things that once enamored you are now annoying. Things that you once overlooked because you were “in love” are now put under a microscope and complained about.
These arguments often center around one person not getting things his/her way. If these individuals were to really dig down in their hearts, they would find an idol sitting there—and that idol is themselves. They think so much of themselves that it has become a problem in their marriage. Individuals in this situation have usually abandoned the concepts of humility and gratitude, and Jesus has taken a back seat in their marriage.
Christians should be humble because we know the truth about ourselves: our corruption, our weakness, our conflicts, our helplessness.
We should also be exceedingly grateful for what Christ has done and for what we have: peace with God, redemption, church family, and eternal life.
But instead, we think so much of ourselves that we fight. We complain. We argue.
We are suffering from Gospel amnesia—we have forgotten our own sins and the amazing grace of almighty God! Here is why we have conflicts in the home (or in the church): Deep down we really don’t think we are the chief of sinners.
Notice in 1 Timothy 1:15 Paul identities himself as the chief sinner. How many times have you heard someone try to claim this title? This is the real argument you and your spouse should be having: Who is the chief sinner! And you should be fighting hard for that title. I assure you if you approach things this way it will radically change your marriage, life, and church.
I can give you a personal example—although it is rather humiliating. (But if it helps someone grow spiritually it is worth it!) Several years ago, while we were in England, my wife bought some small “tea spoons” that we keep near our coffee station at home. There are 3-4 different types, but they are all small—meant to be used for stirring cups of coffee or tea. Out of the different types there was one that I really liked. No, let me rephrase that—there was one type that was my favorite. It was the one I always selected to stir my coffee.
I found myself getting irritated if my particular type of spoon was not in the drawer. I really liked that particular type of spoon. I viewed that spoon as part of me having a great day, and on days when I didn’t have my particular favorite it was like a small dark cloud washed over my day. (Dumb I know, but I’m being real here.) It reached the point that I began asking my spouse and children to use the other “cheaper” spoons and leaving me the “good ones.” After all, I believed I deserved those good spoons.
That was until God got a hold of me and my heart—and revealed just how ridiculous I was being! I was actually arguing with my wife over whether or not I had the “good spoon” to stir my coffee. Here I was a grown man with a beautiful wife, healthy children, a home to live in, and food to eat—and yet, I was complaining over a little spoon?! I had forgotten my place in the world.
Humiliating to admit? Very. But I suspect some of you can relate. It may not be something as dumb as a spoon, but there’s likely something trivial out there that you may argue about. Let me encourage you to stop arguing about that and instead argue over who is the chief sinner in your home!
We still have the spoons—but I find myself not worrying about which one I use. Instead, I focus on things that really matter, like having a Christian wife and being thankful for having coffee to drink. If you find yourself arguing with your spouse step back, pray, and consider a spirit of humble gratitude. Think about what Jesus did for you and ask yourself how important your “spoon” really is in the grand scheme of life.
By keeping a love for Christ in the forefront of your mind you can help prevent spiritual amnesia.
[Yes, these are the different types of spoons we have, and no, I won’t tell you which one was my favorite.]