You know, one of the things that you have to understand and submit to is that in marriage, you have no capacity whatsoever to change the other person. If a human being could change another human being, Jesus would not have had to come. The whole message of scripture is that change is a result of the exercise of the power of divine grace.
Now, what that then means is I should not think that by the force of my personality, by constant argument, by the tightness of my logic, that I can change the content of another person’s heart. That’s trying to be the savior. What I need to understand is I am called to be a tool in His redemptive hands. I’m never anything more than His instrument. And so, here’s the question that I think every married man, every married woman should be asking. “What is God seeking to do in the heart and life of my husband or wife, and how can I be part of it?” You should ask that question everyday.
Now, here’s how marriage works, why so few wishes your husband was a better spiritual leader or husbands, if you wish your wife were more joyful and content. Here’s how marriage works. If your eyes ever see or your ears ever hear the sin, weakness and failure of your spouse, it’s never an accident. It’s never an interruption. It’s never a hassle. It’s always grace. God loves that husband or wife and He’s put them in a marriage of faith; and He will reveal their need to you, so you can be a tool of His rescue and transformation. It’s always grace.
If you are now experiencing the sin, weakness and failure of your husband or wife, that exposure is exactly what God means to do in marriage because the ultimate plan for marriage – sorry, this is true – is not my temporary happiness. The ultimate purpose of marriage is to further God’s work of rescue and transformation because in marriage, the real Paul gets exposed. The real Luella gets exposed and that exposure is meant, not to defeat us, not to discourage us, but to encourage us with the presence of a God who still is at work in us.
And so, I ask the question. “How can I be a tool of that grace? How can I help the other person see things that they don’t see? How can I help them desire things that they don’t desire for?” Listen. We’re tools of restoration, not condemnation. Let me give you an illustration. If a house is falling down, you know whether it’s going to be restored by the size of the equipment that’s out front. Wrecking ball responses to the sin and weakness of another person are seldom restorative to the response of condemnation. I want to use the smaller tools of insight and encouragement, so that I can be part of what God wants to do in the life of the other person.
Don’t be a wrecking ball. Be a tool in the hands of God as He seeks to do good things in the heart of the person whose sin, weakness or failure has now been revealed to you in your marriage.