Toxins creep into our bodies. We don’t willingly or knowingly invite them in. We don’t pick up a big bottle that says “TOXIC” across the front and take a swig. They come in through our food, through the air, through environments. They creep. They seep.
There are some toxins that do the same creeping and seeping into our marriages. We don’t mean to say those things. We don’t mean to do them, but they find their way into our mouths and into our hearts, and can soon turn a healthy marriage sour.
Here are four toxins that you should eliminate from your marriage TODAY!
We sat as early newlyweds in a church service one Sunday and heard our pastor challenge us all to take sarcastic talk out of our marriage. We both looked at each as I voiced what we both knew. “If we did that,” I said, “we wouldn’t talk at all.” We both came from families who use sarcastic talk as comic relief, and we carried it into our own relationship. Sarcasm stings. Sarcasm divides. Sarcasm aggravates. And following it up with “I was just joking” doesn’t make it better.
If you are a female, then you’ve nagged. Sorry but it is true. Especially if you are a wife. God saw it coming. His divinely given wisdom to Solomon included several warnings of our wifely tendency to nag (see Proverbs 29:1, 27:15 and 21:19). The problem is, it doesn’t bring about any of the help/support/love/acceptance that we are trying to get from our spouse. Instead, it causes them to withdraw, to withhold. Check out my “Bag the Nag” post to understand why we do, why we shouldn’t and link to some tips on how to stop.
It starts out as something small. A remark. A broken promise. An unmet expectation. I’ll think, “Ah, no reason to make a big deal of it. I don’t want to start a fight.” But that little thing sits on my heart and brews in my head. I can’t let it go, and the longer it stays, the bigger it gets. Resentment is a weed. A weed that infests our marriage garden and will squelch all the healthy, growing, lively things within it. I try to kill the weeds of resentment when they are small, first by praying that God would help me to let it go. If I still can’t let it go, the prayer usually helps to humble my heart and build my courage to take it lovingly to my spouse to resolve.
If you’ve got a garden full of resentment weeds, you likely have an issue with unforgiveness. Forgiveness requires letting the little things go…and the big things. Both are hard. I’ve had to learn to extend grace and forgiveness to the little slights that naturally happen when you are married to a sinful, selfish, imperfect human. It helps once you realize how much of a sinful, selfish, imperfect human you are. Practice on the little things, because the big things are coming. I never thought as a young wife that this man I loved so much would hurt me…but he has. The hurt goes as deep as the love. And I’ve hurt him. The toxicity of unforgiveness in your marriage’s past will kill its future.
Just as our bodies are temples of God (see our April theme), our marriages also reflect God to the world. We should want to honor God through our marriages by keeping them healthy and free from the toxins that will kill & destroy.
What toxins are creeping and seeping into your relationship? Today is the day to detox!!
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