Marriage has kind of a bad rap these days. Though the oft-cited statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce is not true, it is true that culture today views marriage as temporary, unnecessary, and even a burden.
These perceptions are false — and there is so much more we can and should be doing to dispel them.
As Christians, we are ambassadors of Christ. Even if straight-up evangelism isn’t your thing (it’s certainly not mine), it’s still our goal to reflect Christ to others. For those of us fortunate enough to have found a husband or wife, we should have the same goal for marriage. Others, especially non-Christians, should look at our marriages and say, “Wow, they really do love each other unconditionally.” They should see what we have and want it for themselves.
That’s why it irritates me to no end when I hear people make comments against their spouses in public.
These errors are rarely made with any malicious intention. A sigh here. A comment there about something he forgot to do or a honey-do list she left for you. (Full disclosure: I’m sure I slip sometimes!) But they are thoughtless and cause three potential problems:
- They damage perceptions of marriage.
- They damage your spouse’s reputation.
- They can chip away at your heart and the work you’re doing to become more like Christ.
There are tons of verses I could quote here about the power of words. But my favorite is a verse from Psalms that my pastor prays at the beginning of every sermons:
Father, I ask that the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart would be pleasing in your sight…
I love this verse not only because of my pastor’s important role in my (very young) faith journey, but also because of its greater ramification: that the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts are inextricably linked.
The more we think or say something, the truer it seems. And as marriage partners, it’s our job to build each other up, not to tear each other down, and certainly not to tear each other down in public. That’s why even thoughtless, unintentional comments that reflect poorly on your spouse are so critical.
Whether we like it or not, our behavior is on display for others to see and judge. Husbands and wives, let’s tear down the ball-and-chain view of marriage. Let’s be vigilant with our words and make a commitment to share the joy of marriage and change the cultural conversation.