Husbands and wives harm and hinder each other. It’s a fact. Unfortunately, we are sold fantasies about marital love that are wrapped in ball gowns and handsomeness. These images are great for a wedding day, but they do not serve us well for daily living. If we truly understood just how we will hinder and harm each other, our vows might read like this:
“I will hinder your spiritual growth and confidence.”
“I will harm you with my addictions and anger.”
“I will hinder our prosperity through greed and poor planning.”
“I will harm our relationship by putting my job and my mom first.”
While no one says these things at the altar, we do utter vows about sickness, poverty, and worse. These negative circumstances rarely just befall us. They are mostly the result of our sinful and misguided choices. Even some physical ailments are the result of spousal bad behavior. A domineering man, for example, can create an anxious wife who needs counseling and medication she didn’t need when they stood at the altar. A complaining, grumpy wife can certainly drive up her husband’s blood pressure, or drive him away into the arms of another woman.
I’m not being dramatic. Every married couple in the world can pen their own Hinderella and Prince Harming tale. We do the young no favors by hiding the truth about it. Sin and weakness absolutely erode trust and joy in every marriage.
The best way to find out how (not whether) you hinder or harm your spouse is to ask. One of my daughter’s and her boyfriend came up with the concept of Honesty Hour when hard discussions can be had. What a genius idea, and a potentially effective way for spouses to clear the air, confess sin, pray together, and make fresh commitments.
Renewing our vows is not something we have to wait to do in front of friends. We can do it daily, weekly, monthly, and annually in the presence of God. Unless we are willing to own our marital failings, our marriages will ultimately fail.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him,[a] he can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. And it is perfectly proper for God to do this for us because Christ died to wash away our sins.* 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are lying and calling God a liar, for he says we have sinned.
I John 1.8-10 TLB