The Accepting Marriage

Posted on April 7, 2013 | 11 comments

Romans 15:7 reads like this:

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

While I realize that this verse is being applied to all of our relationships in Christ, it struck me as one that is particularly hard to apply to the one with whom we are supposed to share the most intimacy.

Accept. One. Another.

If you have been a Christian longer than a day, then your mind immediately goes to the question of accepting sin.

Acceptance does not mean turning a blind eye to bad fruit. What it does mean is not abandoning or judging another because of our struggles.

It is a call to compassion.

Even with our spouses.

The example that Paul gives for us in this passage is Christ, who, despite our brokenness, failures and unmet expectations, continues to extend to us compassion, mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

Which are the exact things our spouses are counting on us for.

It is a call to relational security.

What are we to accept? My list may be incomplete, and you are welcome to comment with your additions, but I would say acceptance starts with:

Accepting that your spouse is broken in a different way that you are.

This is tough. We may understand our own brokenness, and then assume our spouse struggles in the same way. When we don’t understand the struggles of our spouse, we judge. We try to solve their problems, thinking it easy and clear.

Our spouse’s brokenness, the lies that they believe about their Self, tend to press up against our expectations. This is a breeding ground for disappointment and distance. Protecting our Self from the brokenness of our spouse.

We need to understand the lies that our spouse struggles with in order to be a light of truth to them. Helping the Spirit to provide the opportunity for healing rather than tearing our spouse down.

Accepting that your spouse had different strengths than you do.

We tend to applaud what we think is important. Unfortunately, when our spouse is strong in areas different from us, we may overlook or dismiss their strength as unimportant.

Strengths are a gift from God. They are a cause for celebration. At the beginning of the relationship, our spouse’s strengths were what attracted us to them. They filled in our gaps.

Accept rather than resent or assume their strengths. They are a blessing from God.

Accepting that your spouse experiences love differently that you do.

It is easy to provide love in a way that is familiar to us. If your strength is works of service, you will tend to want to find ways to serve your spouse.

Unfortunately, they may not receive the message. It may be uncomfortable or awkward, but if your spouse receives love via physical affection, then you need to accept that, not try to change them or convince them they are wrong, and speak their language.

Accepting that your spouse is just another human being.

The big Lie that we are susceptible to is that wholeness is available apart from God. Our spouse tends to be the one we look to most often and most easily to provide our fix of comfort, security, and affirmation.

That is a trap. Our spouse was not meant to bear the weight of our identity. {Tweet that quote!}

We have to accept that our spouse is not a valid source of our sense of self, worth, or significance. They are a broken vessel as we are and will crumble under that pressure.

There is only One whose shoulders can bear the weight of identity.

What have you learned that you need to accept about your spouse?

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  1. These are all great points, Scott, but I especially like number one – “Accepting that your spouse is broken in a different way that you are.” It reminds me of the “log and speck” conundrum that Jesus spoke to. It’s very easy for us to see our spouse’s faults and for them to see ours. But you’ve brought out a great insight that we think it is easy to fix that part because we don’t struggle with it. I’m guilty of that! Thanks for this thought-provoking post and for swinging by my place and weighing in as well!

    • Thanks for checking our Choose to Trust! It is great to hear what another blogger thinks. I look forward to reading more of your stuff in the future.

  2. I like the last point the best.

  3. These are such great points and something we need to remind ourselves of in marriage. Love the point about being broken in different ways. The truth is we cannot love our spouse the way they deserve to be loved, because we are broken and that brokenness is as individual as we are! These are wise words! Awesome post!

    • You are right, loving is a struggle. Thanks for reading! Hope you come back.

  4. Oh how I do love what you’ve shared. Great points you’ve raised. Thank you. Visiting from Jolene’s and grateful to find my way here.

    • I’m honored that you stopped by and read. Hope you check back in some more.

  5. Love all of your points, Scott. All of them will make for a God-honoring marriage. Thanks for linking up to The Alabaster Jar.

    • Thank you for stopping by. Hope we run into each other again soon.

  6. Thanks for this post. I wake up every morning and repeat “Jesus is the lover of my soul”. It helps me to remember that my husband is not my savior. When I look at him as a broken vessel I do have more compassion when things go wrong in our relationship. I try to remember that we are not enemies but there is one who would love to see our marriage fail. I praise God for his grace, it truly abounds.

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