The Discipline of Judging Ourselves in Marriage
It is the easiest thing in the world to point fingers at our spouse, and to blame them for the inadequacies and issues experienced in our marriage. We may occasionally feel justified in doing so, and even believe that criticizing them will somehow bring about the changes we desire in our relationship. But the reality is that pointing fingers is rarely ever the precipitator of change in any marriage, and if we really desire to see change occur, we’ll begin by judging ourselves and facing the realities of our heart.
A Culture of Chaos
In a recent conversation with my wife, we were discussing how common it is for headlines in the news and social media to celebrate one person “destroying” someone else in an argument or debate. Our society clearly relishes the attention garnered by those headlines. Worse yet, buried deep within such societal chaos, is the belief that destroying someone in that manner is convincing and effective in bringing about change. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Looking Deep Within
Scripture points to a very different process. It requires us to look deep within, and to prime sharply into our soul, so that we may identify and address the personal qualities hindering our ability to truly see.
“How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is a plank in your own eye? Your hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” - Matthew 7:4-5
Let’s be honest, judging our hearts takes courage. Facing who we really are, and staring directly at our faults, is intimidating at best. Still, we cannot have the kind of marriage we desire until we are willing to take this crucial step daily.
Humility & Change
Only then can we begin to see how we need to change, remain sensitive to the nature of how we engage our spouse, and understand our role in fortifying or weakening the foundations of our marital partnership. Furthermore, judging our hearts invokes a humility that allows change to unfold, prevents us from taking the liberty of becoming overly critical of our husband or wife, and holds us back from ever relishing any sense of destroying them in a critically-laden conversation.
This, my friends, is how we begin to build a healthy marriage. I pray that we would the time to meditate on the wisdom found in Matthew 7:4-5, and develop the discipline of doing what Christ is asking of us, so that we may begin to change as needed, avoid pointing fingers, and ultimately enjoy a marriage that is nothing short of incredible. There is nothing easy about any of this, but through God’s grace I’m confident we can succeed.
Eric Gomez is a Marriage & Family Therapist specializing in building families, strengthening marriages and addressing the personal, relational, and cultural harms of pornography. He received his graduate degree in Marriage & Family Therapy from Seattle Pacific University and his undergraduate degree in Psychology from New Mexico State University.