Me First Kind of Marriage

You need fixing. That’s just the gospel truth. As much as we like to think it’s our spouse who needs to change, we should come to grips with the reality: change in marriage begins with me.

Jesus said, “You may want to take the huge plank out of your eye before you even attempt to get the speck out of your spouse’s.” (Matthew 7:5) Well, he didn’t say it exactly like that, but it still applies!

This kind of self-awareness produces marriage-changing fruit. Here’s how:

  • It encourages a me first perspective. When faced with conflict, I am not so quick to point a finger at my spouse. Instead, I consider things I need to change. Rather than blame, I ask “What have I contributed to this conflict?” or, “How can I be a peace maker?”.
  • Extend grace. Jesus tells a story about a man who was forgiven an extraordinary debt by a wealthy ruler. This man immediately condemned a debtor who owed him mere pennies. It wasn’t long before word got back to the wealthy ruler. The man was later thrown in prison for not extending grace when he had been forgiven so much. Remembering how Jesus has forgiven us does wonders in helping us extend grace to our spouse. Even if our spouse is in the wrong, extend grace! Jesus died for our spouse’s sin; he’s taken care of it, so you don’t have to hold it. This doesn’t mean hurts are swept under the rug, but it does mean our perspective, and how we deal with offenses, changes.

So, it goes something like this: Anna and I have have an argument. Things get tense, no yelling, just tense. Both of us are frustrated and likely hurt by the other. There’s no resolution in that moment. The next few hours I begin to think of all the ways she has offended me, and how I am totally going to convince her of just how wrong she is.

Then “Me first” kicks in, hopefully sooner than later. Me first means I need to reflect on ME first before putting my pride on display against Anna. I begin to think to myself, if she is wrong and she has hurt me, Jesus has already taken the punishment on behalf of that sin. I repeat these truths to myself as often as needed. Whew! I begin to let her sin go (if she has sinned against me). It is important that I ask myself How did I contribute to the conflict?

How do I need to change in how I deal with conflict?

Do I need to ask for forgiveness?

Resolution comes when both husband and wife work things out with a “me first” approach. Restoration comes quickly rather than enduring a drawn out aftermath of hurt feelings. We can’t avoid struggles in this life, but we can lay the foundation of rules of engagement: me first, extend grace, seek to reconcile always.



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