By Elizabeth Prata
I wasn’t saved until I was 42. Before that, I’d been married. I remember what it was like to complain about my spouse. It was the norm. It was a usual thing to gripe about him, to nitpick every fault and failure and deficit to my friends when we got together. We didn’t have the internet then, but we did complain about our spouses in public, even TO our spouses in public. All in good fun, we said. Just joshing.
Sure. Sure it was. What it actually was, was marital wars. It was putting salt on the jabs and pokes and little bitter wounds that pile up. It was a normal thing. Doing that meant we were trying to get an advantage in our constant undercurrent of passive-aggressive battle that unsaved marriages often are.
The unsaved’s marriage is a war, as Genesis 3:16 says the woman will constantly try to usurp her husband. In turn, the husband has to constantly suppress his wife. There is no common ground, as there is in a Christian marriage, the common ground being Jesus.
The Christian marriage is in fact a societal foundation block of intertwined flesh of two made one. It is a pair, united in purpose and walking together. Big difference from the ego-maniacal wars of the unsaved marriage.
When we are saved, we realize our utter depravity, our utter lostness before God, and our helpless estate. We need Jesus every moment to do what is right, and that includes loving our spouses well.
After salvation, I was not married any more but I watched Christian married couples closely. They loved each other. Their devotion seemed real and deep. They praised each other, lifted each other up, and spoke well of him or her.
This kind of behavior and their kind words about each other was startling in how much it contrasted with the darkness of non-Christian talk about spouses. It was like a warm glow of a candlelit table, comfortable and inviting, rather than the hot pricks and barbs of usual conversations about our spouse.
Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but if there is any good word for edification according to the need of the moment, say that, so that it will give grace to those who hear.“
I would like to reiterate what Dr. Strachan said in the tweet screen shot above. It IS radical to speak well of one’s spouse (or of anyone!) I don’t know if long-time Christians know HOW radical it is. Wholesome and uplifting speech about your wife or husband is countercultural and stands out like a lighthouse beacon on a stormy night.
The good news is that if you have fallen into the trap of downgrading your spouse in public in speech or gestures, you can repent to Jesus and He will forgive. The Holy Spirit is our very present help to aid us in resisting that kind of speech.
If you have been uplifting your spouse in conversation to others, then please know how such talk stands out in the swirl of talk by the unsaved that usually consists of complaints, gossip, and pettiness. Such speech stands out like warm rain on a sunny day.