By C. Tracy Reynolds
After nearly forty years of marriage to my sweet bride, it occurs to me that part of our secret is our uniqueness. You might say our secret sauce is the weirdness we bring to the relationship. Those things that once drove me crazy about her (though they still mildly irritate me at times!) are fond reminders of what makes her different from all the rest and uniquely special to me. Our differences make us distinctive.
In 2 Timothy 1:6-7, Paul celebrates our differences and urges us to lean into the distinctive grace God has deposited into each of us: “fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you.” While God does use each of us to “rub off the rough edges” and slowly shape us into greater conformity to the character of Jesus, He also gives us the power to trust our differences and become more of who He has uniquely created us to be.
Could it be that those seemingly annoying irritants are, in fact, gifts to be fanned and opportunities for mutual growth and benefit?
Spirit-empowered marriage increasingly accepts difference as strength rather than weakness. Many of the quirks and nuances of our distinct personalities are the very things that make us delightfully different as a couple. I am merely suggesting that those points of variety are gifts to be celebrated rather than projects to be completed or problems to be solved.
The flip side of uniqueness, however, lies in the ongoing opportunity to step into the voids and weaknesses of our marriage partner as a means of completing them rather than competing with them. The “power, love, and self-discipline” Paul mentions (2 Timothy 1:7) form a triple threat means of serving our beloved spouse.
What it Looks Like
Rather than getting angry when I trip over the shoes she left on the stairs or the empty toilet paper roll discovered in the middle of the night, the Holy Spirit gives me the capacity to lovingly pick up the shoes and change the toilet roll…while giggling to myself and privately rolling my eyes, of course.
Spirit-empowered marriage trusts the still small voice leading me to defer rather than demand. To serve rather than expect better service. To assume responsibility rather than pass the buck. To try to understand the perspective of the other rather than piously digging into my own and assuming it superior.
Maybe part of God’s gift to our marriage are those things that set us apart from each other and make us uniquely “us” as a couple and as a family. And, maybe, part of what gives us the competitive edge as a Spirit-empowered couple is the awesome capacity to serve the other through their weakness until it becomes a unified strength in us both.
Question: In what ways has the Holy Spirit helped you in your marriage? Leave a comment below by clicking here.