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Addressing A Shortcoming In Your Spouse

I often tell people that marriage is not for the weak. And I stand by that statement 100%. It’s not for those who are weak in the area of their commitments, because the first thing this person will want to do is run at the sight of a challenge.

I am in no way referring to abuse. It is my position that anyone being abused needs to place air and space between themselves and the abuser.

However, society teaches us not to take marriage seriously. This is why we see the same people getting married and divorced every six months. “I don’t have to take this” seems to be the relationship slogan of this generation. Most of the time, when we say, “I don’t have to take this” we really mean, “Who do you think you are to be addressing me about my shortcomings?” Addressing a shortcoming in your spouse is something that must be done with the correct motive in the heart.

Marriage Is Commitment

Allow me to break this down in a very clear manner. Well before the actual wedding day, when a man and woman start planning for the wedding, they are saying to one another, “This is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. This is the person I want to give all of my love, affection, and attention to.”

As warm and fuzzy as that sounds, we are also saying, “This is the person that is going to hold the mirror up to my face for me to grow in the area of my shortcomings.” This is the part that we often give less thought to.

The definition of a shortcoming is a fault that is below standard.

Did you catch that? A shortcoming is a fault that is below standard. It’s not about being perfect (without flaws), but about managing our shortcomings in a way that is acceptable and workable for both parties.

Here’s an Example

Tanya was one of five children from a loud family. Her mother and father were loud and argumentative, which seemed to be their way of dealing with problems. Nothing was ever resolved, but every issue was deserving of a loud argument.

Tanya grew up and married Joe. These two were from opposite sides of the track in terms of how they handled problems and challenges.

One day, with the remote in his hand, Joe turned the television to one of those reality shows where the women prefer fighting things out instead of working things out. Neither he nor Tanya watched those shows. However, Joe thought this was a clever way to get his point across.

Holding Up the Mirror

Both Joe and Tanya watched the show in utter disgust. The women were loud and rude to one another as well as to their spouses.

Joe then said to Tanya, “You see how they are loud and disrespectful to their husbands when they get upset? This is the way you are with me.”

In Joe’s mind, this was a clever way of holding the mirror up so his wife could see her behavior. You see, we are often more disgusted when we see our bad behaviors and traits acted out by someone else.

Tanya’s eyes were immediately opened and she was embarrassed to know she belittles her husband like so when upset. As previously stated, we are quick to recognize the wrong of our traits and behaviors when someone else is acting them out.

Tanya did some real soul searching. She then realized that she packed up some of the dysfunction in her parents’ marriage and brought it into her own. She’s not the first to make this mistake.

Purpose of the Mirror

The purpose of holding up the mirror was not to show his wife how much of an awful person she was. He didn’t think that at all. He wanted her to see how her thoughts, words, and actions in that particular area needed to come up to a standard that was comfortable for both of them.

Again, Joe was not asking for his wife to be without flaws. It’s just that the way she behaved when she was angry could not be the standard for which the two of them should handle problems in their marriage. It was all about them becoming better teammates, not better individuals. I hope you get the point.

Transparent Moment

My wife recently had to hold up the mirror to address one of my shortcomings. She was not nasty or rude, and it was surely something that needed to be addressed. Remember, couples are to speak the truth to one another in love. For this reason, it is important to choose the right spouse. The right person holds up the mirror for the betterment of the relationship.

Here is where things got interesting.

When she addressed the issue, two things happened.

  1. My pride stood up.
  2. Humility stood up and told my pride to go take a nap.

The War Inside Me

As men, we are known for being more prideful than women. There is nothing wrong with having pride, but there is something wrong with being full of it, hence prideful. Click To Tweet

Anyway, let’s get back to the story.

I am the type of person who always thinks before I respond. So I did not say anything initially. However, there was a war going on inside of me. The fight was between my pride and humility.

My pride was quick to get defensive. This is what pride does. If someone addresses our shortcomings and our response is to get defensive, that’s usually a sign of pride. Well, my pride stood up immediately.

However, the practice of thinking before I speak gave humility time to get involved.

It was at this point that I had to make a decision. I had to decide whether to give the microphone to my pride or humility. Humility said to me, “Let’s look at your track record in that area.” So I had to pause and do just that.

Note: I don’t want anyone to interpret my words to mean that women are always right, because that is not true. A Good Relationship is a relationship where both parties are free to hold up the mirror when needed.

Pride and Humility

As I was saying, pride wanted me to get and stay offended. On the other hand, humility was saying, “Derron, look at the reflection in this mirror your wife is holding up. You may not want to look this way, but the truth is that this is exactly how your actions are perceived.”

I choose to let humility speak into the microphone of my life. A foolish man will argue to be right, but a wise man will learn from his mistakes and be better. Click To Tweet

My goal is to work on myself in that area so it no longer is an area of concern for our destiny. I understand that as I become a better man, I also become a better husband and father. This is not a one-way street. The same is true for her also. As she becomes a better woman, she also becomes a better wife and mother. We are both committed to changing for the betterment of the marriage. A good marriage consists of an imperfect man and an imperfect woman who are perfect for one another.

Listen Up Fellas

Sometimes God will use our wives as His instruments to hold up the mirror of truth before our face. When this happens, we are confronted with only two options. Do we let pride hold the microphone or humility? Remember, pride wants us to get and stay offended while humility wants us to consider the truth of the reflection in the mirror and make changes.

I have never seen anyone arguing with the nail that holds up the mirror. Likewise, we should not be argumentative when we are shown the error of our ways. Click To Tweet

In my case, my wife was the nail that was holding the mirror up.

The Safe Place In The Relationship

As men, we must take the lead in the relationship by creating a safe place for our wives. She should feel safe enough to come to us and hold up the mirror of our actions when needed.

We create a safe place for her when we lead by example. There are times when we must hold up the mirror before our wives. We must do so in love and humility.

And wives, when approaching your husband to hold up that mirror, it’s important that you don’t allow negative emotions to speak into the microphone. Your words can be like a sweet honeycomb, or they can be the knife used to sever the strings of communication and respect in your marriage.

Your husband should be the most respected man in your life. Therefore, you should address him as such. Don’t be like the silly women who give more respect to the boss she doesn’t like than the man she married.

This type of woman says things like, “Respect is earned, not given.” She is indirectly saying that her husband has to earn her respect. But, does that also apply to his love? Does she also feel like she should have to earn his love? This is just something to think about.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to share. Oh, don’t forget to buy me a coffee!

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