We meet them and we fall in love. They’re perfect and if our parents or anyone else said a word against them, we wouldn’t hear it. So what happens? Why does our spouse suddenly become this human being with countless imperfections that we feel compelled to nag at? We want an easy life and we think that we deserve it. Basically, we have such a high opinion of ourselves that we believe that we are entitled to never be inconvenienced by others who are different from us.
James 4:1-3 says what causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
When we nag at our spouse, we are communicating to them, in a loud clear voice “I don’t love you just the way that you are – you must perform or change in order to receive my love”. This is not what God calls us to. God calls us to love others. God doesn’t call us to change others. When we demand change in order to love, we are in sin. I’m not advocating staying in a relationship that is abusive. I’m not talking about love as the world defines love – gushy mushy feeling love. I’m talking about love as it is defined in God’s word. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, boastful, proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable and keeps no record of wrongs. Love is never glad about injustices and rejoices when truth wins. Love never gives up, never loses faith and is hopeful and endures. This is the kind of love that we make a choice to give. It’s not a feeling – it’s a decision. I will love this person today.
A spouse that is unfairly criticized and picked at gets the wind taken out of their sail. They become disheartened and feel unsafe in the marriage. They will stop opening up to their spouse. They may become overly defensive or even seek comfort from others outside of the marriage. This of course, is where many extramarital affairs begin.
I’m convinced that we could all overlook more, especially in our marriages. Most of the time these traits are not sinful, they are just annoying. Pray for yourself – ask God to help you love the way that He intends.