Are You the Good Spouse?

    You make sure to refrain from losing your cool in any and every argument …

    You pray about every decision and stay close to God …


    You maintain a forgiving spirit with your spouse …


    You do all the “right things” in life and marriage …


    You take responsibility when and where it’s needed …


    You avoid complaining and keep a cheerful disposition …

    but you don’t see your spouse changing or improving.

    the-good-wife-poster_558x828Perhaps you now have come to believe that, not only are you the “good spouse,” but that you’re married to the “bad spouse.”

    If so, are you’re feeling … discouraged?

    Are you feeling like God is failing you?—that the changes you want God to make in your spouse aren’t fast enough or noticeable enough?

    Are you tired of the “good spouse” routine with no obvious improvement in your marriage in sight?

    I was there at one time. I thought that I could “do” everything necessary to fix my marriage by be being the good, “godly” wife. After a while of this, I found that I had shifted from being the good, godly wife to being the martyr with a neon-bright halo of self-righteousness. Unfortunately, it was the glare from my “neon-bright halo” that often blinded my husband to any sin he might have committed in our relationship.

    It’s also important to state that very often our spouse isn’t doing anything wrong or bad per se, it’s just not what we think they “should” be doing. Furthermore, sometimes our spouse’s negative behavior is more noticeable or obvious than ours, so we assume that means they are “bad” and we are “good,” when nothing could be further from the truth!

    The bottom line is: there’s nothing wrong with being a “good” spouse* …

    But if you feel like you’ve been the good spouse and you’re becoming discouraged and impatient with your spouse’s progress, then maybe you should stop and evaluate your situation.

    My word of advice to you would be …

    Lay it down!

    Jesus wants to replace you, the “good spouse” with Himself—the “Good God” in your relationship. He is the only One who can carry that mantle with grace and power because He is the only One who is truly good in your life. He is the only One who can change your spouse, but you first must let him change YOU.

    So quit the work of “carrying” your relationship and lay it down before Christ to carry for you.

    “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” -Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

    “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.” -Psalm 37:8 (NIV)

    *BTW, this is not about being “good” in an abusive relationship. Tolerating abuse is never okay. 

    Photo by Jamie Luther


    *************

    Joining with NOBH, Works for Me Wednesday, To Love Honor and Vacuum and T.G.I.F.
     
    Now, it’s time for Wedded Wednesday!

    WW rules:

    Write in any way you feel inspired about marriage, parenthood or anything that reflects Christ’s redemption in your life.

    1. Enter in a permalink directly to your blog post and not the main URL to your blog. 
    2. Be sure to include a link to Wedded Wednesday or add the WW button to your current blog post and/or sidebar.
    3. Visit and comment on at least one other person’s blog that’s linked up here.

    Optional but encouraged:

    • Consider setting up your Gravatar profile and Disqus Profile with a link to your blog … it makes it so much easier for all of us to find those of you who blog!
    • If you have the time, visit those who visit your blog and comment at their place as well … sort of a “Say it forward.”

    Come join our Wednesday Link-up!


    • I once read a marriage study that warned wives not to be their husband’s Holy Spirit – a job reserved only for God. I’ve viewed my own “holy goodness” with caution ever since. Instead of trying to “fix” my hubby, I pray for God to change him and/or change me if I’m the real problem!

      • Yes, Becky. I pray that all the time–that I would learn not to be the Holy Spirit in my husband’s life. haha! But it’s so true, God is our only real hope for change in marriage and life. Thanks for showing up here every week, my friend. I love seeing you represented in the line up!

    • I once read a marriage study that warned wives not to be their husband’s Holy Spirit – a job reserved only for God. I’ve viewed my own “holy goodness” with caution ever since. Instead of trying to “fix” my hubby, I pray for God to change him and/or change me if I’m the real problem!

    • ‘*BTW, this is not about being “good” in an abusive relationship. Tolerating abuse is never okay.’
      Thanks for this P.S., Beth. Tragically, there’s still an element in Christianity that tolerates emotional, verbal, and spiritual abuse. I so appreciate you keeping this warning on the table.

      • Yes, I don’t ever want to be guilty of giving an abused spouse the “excuse” or the guilt-trip of not dealing with abuse. Thanks for saying, though. It’s nice to know it matters to more than just me, Linda. Thanks for your friendship and support!

    • ‘*BTW, this is not about being “good” in an abusive relationship. Tolerating abuse is never okay.’
      Thanks for this P.S., Beth. Tragically, there’s still an element in Christianity that tolerates emotional, verbal, and spiritual abuse. I so appreciate you keeping this warning on the table.

    • Nan

      Amen, Beth! We can’t be the Holy Spirit in someone else’s wife. We can’t change them, as you said. Only God can and He wants to change US first!

      Feeling like we’re the “good” spouse can lead us to start to keep score and keep track of our “points” and what he “owes” us. Not a great thing for a marriage. It’s a partnership, not a competition. Thanks for hosting!

      • Yes, I like what you bring up. It is like “keeping score” and that’s never good in a marriage. Great thoughts to add, Nan. I always love hearing your thoughts on my posts, my friend. And I LOVE having you in the line up for Wedded Wed. 🙂

    • Nan

      Amen, Beth! We can’t be the Holy Spirit in someone else’s wife. We can’t change them, as you said. Only God can and He wants to change US first!

      Feeling like we’re the “good” spouse can lead us to start to keep score and keep track of our “points” and what he “owes” us. Not a great thing for a marriage. It’s a partnership, not a competition. Thanks for hosting!

    • I love Isaiah 40:31, it has deep perspective & encouragement for life and marriage. it’s true that ‘hope deferred can make a heart grow faint’ (or feel martyr-like!). But He’ll always lift us and bring us around when we make Him our strength and refuge. He’ll find a way to get our attention!

      • It’s one of my all-time favorites too, Ngina. It has encouraged me through many rough times in my life. And I agree, God will make a way to get our attention and, when we turn it over to Him, make a way for healing and redemption of our sick marriages. Thanks for your insight here–I love how it adds to the conversation, my friend!

    • AH

      Ahh….so convicting…

      • Thanks! I really appreciate your kind words, more than you know!

    • AH

      Ahh….so convicting…

    • GailBP

      It’s an important line between being godly and being self-righteous, isn’t it? And self-righteousness always gives us such a skewed perspective. Sounds advice, as always, Beth. Thanks for these reminders/cautions.

      • Yes, that’s true, Gail. It really does skew things and keep us from being the truly “godly” vessels in our marriage. Thanks for linking up here as well, my friend. I love your wisdom and the self-esteem series you’ve been doing lately!

    • GailBP

      It’s an important line between being godly and being self-righteous, isn’t it? And self-righteousness always gives us such a skewed perspective. Sounds advice, as always, Beth. Thanks for these reminders/cautions.

    • Megan@DoNotDisturb

      To truly see ourselves, our faults, our flaws as worse than the failure of those around us…truly a free concept. Thanks for sharing!

      Megan

      • Yes, it’s hard to get to the point, Megan, as I’m sure you know. But it’s what I’m striving for in my life and marriage. Oh, that elusive humility! It feels like a feather that keeps getting chased away by every swipe I make to grab it. 🙂 Thanks for your kind words and presence in the link up!

    • Megan@DoNotDisturb

      To truly see ourselves, our faults, our flaws as worse than the failure of those around us…truly a free concept. Thanks for sharing!

      Megan

    • Sherry Lechner Jennings

      “…it was the glare from my “neon-bright halo” that often blinded my husband to any sin he might have committed in our relationship.” I LOVE that!! How powerful!! This is a message for a time such as this. THANK YOU for posting it! I’ve been reading in 1 & 2 Kings, and something just jumped out at me… that when we lay our ALL on the altar, God doesn’t hesitate to bring the fire. Lay your ALL down before the King! We love Messy Marriage over at Intentionally Yours!!

      • I’m reading through 1 and 2 Samuel, so I’m getting those same clear messages from God through His powerful, active and “alive” Word, Sherry. Thanks so much for your kindness to me and Messy Marriage. I appreciate your enthusiasm in the comment section and the messages you and your fellow bloggers share over at Intentionally Yours!

    • Sherry Lechner Jennings

      “…it was the glare from my “neon-bright halo” that often blinded my husband to any sin he might have committed in our relationship.” I LOVE that!! How powerful!! This is a message for a time such as this. THANK YOU for posting it! I’ve been reading in 1 & 2 Kings, and something just jumped out at me… that when we lay our ALL on the altar, God doesn’t hesitate to bring the fire. Lay your ALL down before the King! We love Messy Marriage over at Intentionally Yours!!

    • I think many wives (I was one) get an almost-fundamentalist bent going and then, look out, ’cause no one could be holier than thou. Satan knows how to use scripture against God, and I truly believe when we are in this “good spouse” cloud, that’s who’s speaking to us and through us sometimes.

      Terrific topics lately, Beth! Right in line with what I see everywhere. Thank you!

      • Yes, it starts out as a very honorable pursuit, but like just about anything good, Satan twists it and we “choose” to fall for it hook, line and sinker! Thanks for your encouragement here, Amy. I always appreciate hearing from you, my friend!

    • I think many wives (I was one) get an almost-fundamentalist bent going and then, look out, ’cause no one could be holier than thou. Satan knows how to use scripture against God, and I truly believe when we are in this “good spouse” cloud, that’s who’s speaking to us and through us sometimes.

      Terrific topics lately, Beth! Right in line with what I see everywhere. Thank you!

    • Gaye @ CalmHealthySexy

      Thanks Beth, for these wise words and the opportunity to link up with you. It’s amazingly easy to begin seeing ourselves as “the good one” in marriage and in other relationships. This post is an excellent “word to the wise” for those who are seeking God’s wisdom.

      • Yes, it is probably more common than many Christians might want to admit. But now that I know what to look for, the moment my mind goes in that direction, I “take the thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” I don’t want to fall into this pit again, my friend! 🙂 Thanks for your sweet friendship and support here. Love having you in the line up too.

    • Gaye @ CalmHealthySexy

      Thanks Beth, for these wise words and the opportunity to link up with you. It’s amazingly easy to begin seeing ourselves as “the good one” in marriage and in other relationships. This post is an excellent “word to the wise” for those who are seeking God’s wisdom.

    • I know this kinda meant for wives…and I’m kinda breaking in…but I have to say that was really an excellent post. Don’t be the good anything–give it to Christ and let Him make it best…I love it! Alright…I’m outta here 🙂

      • It “is” written from my “wifely” perspective, Mike, but I hope that the messages here at Messy Marriage fit for both husbands and wives. Occasionally my hubby writes here on the blog and I love it when he does. But this truth certainly fits for both genders–we all can get a little self-righteous in a failed effort to be like Christ. Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me, my friend. I hope you keep coming back and representing the “male voice,” if only in the comment section! 😉

    • John Wilder

      Great post today

    • Yes, Becky. I pray that all the time–that I would learn not to be the Holy Spirit in my husband’s life. haha! But it’s so true, God is our only real hope for change in marriage and life. Thanks for showing up here every week, my friend. I love seeing you represented in the line up!

    • Yes, I don’t ever want to be guilty of giving an abused spouse the “excuse” or the guilt-trip of not dealing with abuse. Thanks for saying, though. It’s nice to know it matters to more than just me, Linda. Thanks for your friendship and support!

    • Yes, I like what you bring up. It is like “keeping score” and that’s never good in a marriage. Great thoughts to add, Nan. I always love hearing your thoughts on my posts, my friend. And I LOVE having you in the line up for Wedded Wed. 🙂

    • It’s one of my all-time favorites too, Ngina. It has encouraged me through many rough times in my life. And I agree, God will make a way to get our attention and, when we turn it over to Him, make a way for healing and redemption of our sick marriages. Thanks for your insight here–I love how it adds to the conversation, my friend!

    • Thanks! I really appreciate your kind words, more than you know!

    • Lisa

      Good thoughts, Beth! It seems to me that when we try to be a “good” spouse for the purpose of changing our husbands, it will all fall apart. But when we try to trust in The Lord and live for Him no matter the outcome, God can bless it!

      Thanks for hosting this, Beth!

      • Yes, that’s the real truth in all of this–our efforts to change our spouses into what we think they should be. God is the real Change Agent–not us! Thanks for your kindness to me, Lisa. I appreciate it!

    • Lisa

      Good thoughts, Beth! It seems to me that when we try to be a “good” spouse for the purpose of changing our husbands, it will all fall apart. But when we try to trust in The Lord and live for Him no matter the outcome, God can bless it!

      Thanks for hosting this, Beth!

    • Yes, that’s true, Gail. It really does skew things and keep us from being the truly “godly” vessels in our marriage. Thanks for linking up here as well, my friend. I love your wisdom and the self-esteem series you’ve been doing lately!

    • Yes, it’s hard to get to the point, Megan, as I’m sure you know. But it’s what I’m striving for in my life and marriage. Oh, that elusive humility! It feels like a feather that keeps getting chased away by every swipe I make to grab it. 🙂 Thanks for your kind words and presence in the link up!

    • It “is” written from my “wifely” perspective, Mike, but I hope that the messages here at Messy Marriage fit for both husbands and wives. Occasionally my hubby writes here on the blog and I love it when he does. But this truth certainly fits for both genders–we all can get a little self-righteous in a failed effort to be like Christ. Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me, my friend. I hope you keep coming back and representing the “male voice,” if only in the comment section! 😉

    • Thanks for your encouragement, John. I appreciate it.

    • Yes, that’s the real truth in all of this–our efforts to change our spouses into what we think they should be. God is the real Change Agent–not us! Thanks for your kindness to me, Lisa. I appreciate it!