HUMILITY’S GREAT IMPACT
ON YOUR MARRIAGE
Last Wednesday, May 5th, my wife and I celebrated 42 years of marriage. As I went through the day, my mind was flooded with so many memories of our lives together. Both the good and the very difficult. I reflected much on God’s great faithfulness to us. I reflected on God’s great mercy to us. But this particular anniversary, I especially reflected on my wife’s great mercy to me as her husband. And once again, I was deeply humbled and filled with tremendous gratitude for all she has endured as my wife.
Husbands, wives, today I want to speak directly to both of you, not just the men. When was the last time you honestly reflected in humility, on just how much your spouse has loved you through? When was the last time you reflected on just how much your spouse has put up with, and how much your human weaknesses, your own unique struggles, failures, shortcomings, selfishness, emotional outbursts, stubborn pride or bad habits have tried their patience, stretched them beyond what they thought they were able to endure, and sorely tested them? When was the last time in deep humility you were self-aware enough to grasp how fortunate, lucky, and blessed you are, that they have not thrown in the towel and walked away from you? When was the last time you grasped just how hard you are to love sometimes?
My friends, this is one of the great secrets to my burning love for and devotion to Kathy, and to Kathy’s burning love for and devotion to me. Those who are forgiven much love much. Those who have been shown great mercy, who are deeply, humbly aware they were dealt with mercifully by their spouse, it is that spouse that is truly grateful, deeply appreciative, and overflowing with love for their partner.
Let me tell you the absolute truth. Many spouses remind me of this passage in the Bible:
Luke 18:9-14b NLT
Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness. “Two men went to the temple to pray. One was a proud, self-righteous Pharisee and the other was a dishonest tax collector. The proud Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else, especially the tax collector over there! For I never cheat, I don’t sin, I don’t commit adultery, I fast twice a week, and I give a tenth of my income.’
But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest with sorrow, saying, ‘ O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ For the proud will be humbled, but the humble will be honored.
Do you see what I see? Hear me now! Not one of us has ever prayed like this Pharisee to God. We would never think of doing such a thing. BUT O my friends, how many of us in our heart have thought this way towards our spouse!! “O Lord, I thank you that I am not like them, that I never lose my patience, I never say a bad word or an unkind thing. I am always so thoughtful, never stubborn or hurtful. I am so easy to live with and they are just so selfish, inconsiderate, and mean!”
You see, we each need to be just like the tax collector in our marriages.
“O God, thank you that my spouse has been so merciful to me in spite of all my failures, all my shortcomings, and my sins against them. Thank you that they didn’t walk out on me when I hurt their feelings for the 1000th time! Lord, I do not deserve this spouse, nor the love and mercy they have shown to me.”
THAT MY FRIENDS IS THE ATTITUDE OF HUMILITY. THAT IS THE ATTITUDE AND THE SPIRIT THAT GOD WILL BLESS. It is each of us, genuinely understanding just how much we have put our spouse through, seeing ourselves accurately and honestly, that causes us to be overwhelmed with gratitude, and love for them because of the mercy they have shown to us.
When your spouse perceives that attitude, that humility of spirit in you, just like God did with the tax collector, they will honor you, for the humble will be honored.
But the greatest thing of all, whether they honor you or not, God himself will bless you! God himself will honor you for your humility of spirit! Walk humbly with God, walk humbly with your spouse. Cultivate this spirit every single day of your life.
Helping you become a Strong Disciple,
Because of Jesus,
Pastor Mark Darling