There is a beautiful poem which I would quote verbatim to you were not my daughter sound asleep in her room where it is, so easily awakened by a turn of her doornob. But the jist is that different animals want to play but it is always conditional. The skunk won’t play with the monkey unless he wears his scent. The tigeroo won’t play with the lamb unless he wears his stripes. And so on it goes. Each animal will only play with animals conditionally, sometimes unrealistic conditions. And the end line, the moral, is to play when you can but “Do not let their different ways make you a different you.” We were made beautifully exactly the way God designed us, according to His plan and purpose. When we find ourselves in company with someone who wants us to change and be different according to their plan, their mold, we are not only being disrespectful to ourselves and enabling that person to disrespect us without accountability, but most importantly of all, we are robbing God of His perfect design and disrespecting His workmanship. Think about that for a minute. His work is worth respecting because He only makes masterpieces. He does not make anyone unworthy of love, respect, joy, peace, etc. They can choose to drag themslves into that category but it is their choice not God’s. Food for thought.
“But the Lord’s love for those who respect him continues forever and ever, and his goodness continues to their grandchildren and to those who keep his agreement and who remember to obey his orders.” – Psalm 103:17 – 18
Respect + obedience = blessings forever
When we fast and give are the times to not let the other part of yourself (your spouse) know what you are doing. We do not have to indulge every thought to our mate, I don’t find that in Scripture. However, I find such things as love each other as a mandate. Wives are supposed to respect their husbands. It does not ever say that our husbands have to be perfectly respectable for this to happen. In fact, there is a good deal on being kind, forgiving, loving, gentle, self-controlled, and so on. I don’t see any prideful alternative here. In like manner, men are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the church. That is a much taller order because no pride was involved in the depth of His love as He gave up His life for her. No prideful alternative is here either. All I see does not entail pride and selfishness at all. Quite the contrary. This is radical teaching in a culture of “all about me” and “I deserve it”. To say no to our rights and no to pridefully wanting to be right is indeed an act of the strongest faith. I don’t get it right as much as I would like to believe. I am not called to be right but be righteous, and that is quite different. I would rather be wrong and humbled in someone’s eyes and allow my trust in God to shine through as a testimony than to proudly stand correct and kill any testimony I may have had. I won’t be happy with evils hitting me in the face every day but I will have peace. I won’t ever say evil is good or okay or no big deal but I will focus on doing the Godly thing myself and pray and let the Holy Spirit work in my mate’s life. I am responsible to keep myself clean and faithful and gentle and kind and loving, just as I would be were I called to be single, and my spouse has that same responsibility. And if he chooses to chase after evil, nothing will stop him because God gives us free will. And if I choose to chase after evil, there is nothing anyone can do about it either. So the best I can do is be the best that I can, pray over the rest, repent of my wrongs, forgive, work on following Christ, and let the rest go. It breaks your heart and can make you quite depressed because of your love and desire to see that person at peace, but hurt or not, you have to let it go and work on your relationship with God and do the best you can. Just my thoughts on the matter as I see it Biblically.
Being reared in rural Michigan about 30-40 years ago, there was great emphasis placed on being nice. In fact, there was such a push for it that there were actually negative consequences when you were not nice, some making it difficult to sit down for a while. And it was explained in one way or another by a seeming multitude of people (parents, teachers, neighbors, random town folk, church folk, etc.) what being nice consisted of. And since I have noticed a myriad of people around about me and my children lately seeming as if they have not had similar lessons, I wish to share my “nice” knowledge with the masses. Perhaps some of my recent register workers or stock folk at some stores I have been in of late (and even managers, yikes) may read this and start applying its suggestions. Now, warning ahead of time, you may not ever get a reward for being nice. In fact, you may have severe repercussions such as surprise or funny looks or suspicion placed upon you. However, there may perhaps be some vague rewards like, oh I don’t know, a promotion or maybe a smile or gratefulness. The possibilities are endless. Here are some good starting points. 1. It is nice to look a person in the eyes who is speaking with you. This shows the person you actually care what words are coming out of their mouth and maybe even that you give at least some inkling of a care about your job. It also conveys something rare and mysterious as well as quite fragile… respect for another human being. Since we are all made in the image of God on purpose, we are all due this respect but be one of the first to actually convey that and you will come across as “nice”. This is a good thing, believe it or not. 2. It is nice to help someone who needs help. I know this is a little shocking, especially if in a hurry to do something for yourself, but no one is asking you to give up your heart while you are still in need of it, just a helping hand now and again picking something up, holding a door, bringing to attention when someone drops their keys, etc. These things are nice. You would want to be helped if you needed it, right? This particular step on the ladder to niceness may actually be met with thankfulness. Maybe not, I mean not everyone is nice, remember? Which brings us to 3. If someone nice helps you in any way, do say ” thank you” with a smile. Why? Because it is nice to do so. It is so much nicer than sticking up your nose as if the entire world should bow before you and your greatness. So smile and say “thank you” to anyone nice enough to help you with anything. Respect the rarity of that. Respect the nice help. Be nice back. We will leave it at these three practices as a good start. Follow these simple guidelines and you will find, oh shopper at Walmart, that being nice is very… well, nice.
Your husband loves you. He may not always do so perfectly, but when he loves you consistently, it is a big deal and should be respected. When your husband thinks of calling or texting you during the day with his one-thing-at-a-time mentality, it is a big deal and should be respected. When he picks up his dirty clothes and washes every day to not stink, it is a big deal and should be respected (because he probably wouldn’t otherwise). When he helps with the kids or shows your son how to do anything, it is a big deal and should be respected. Of all the women in the world (and there are quite a few), he chose you to marry and spend the rest of his life with. That is a big complement, a big deal and deserves respect. When he chose to marry you, he expressed his belief in you that he thought you would be an excellent mother of his children. That is huge. He thought you were gorgeous. He wanted you. He enjoys your companionship. That is all a big deal and worthy of respect. No man is perfect. We all understand this. No woman is either, to be honest. However, our husbands will rise to the level of respect we show them. Your husband will lead given the opportunity and encouragement to do so and he will flourish under your love and moral support. When we marry, we become one unified team. Errors occur, sins occur, battles occur in the spirit realm and workplaces. These things can be worked out with good conversations, lots of love and understanding, mutual respect and forgiveness. Arm your marriage with these things and guard them well. The closer you draw to God, the fewer demands you will have on your spouse and the closer you will be to your husband.