Staying Accountable, Part 5, Day 25
Special Note: If you and/or your spouse has committed adultery, please seek professional Biblical counseling. Visit Affaircare, a community dedicated to committed, godly marriages and offering redemptive help after an affair. Today’s post is Part 5 of a series on faithfulness – see parts 1, 2, 3, and 4. This series is not intended for those of you who have been victims of rape, abuse, and violence in and/or out of marriage. Please seek professional help!
Recognize You Aren’t Immune
Even Christians fall prey to extra-marital affairs, pornography, and impure sexual fantasies. The band Relient K puts it in one of their songs,The Only Thing Worse Than Beating a Dead Horse is Betting on One,
“In the back of our minds, our problems seem so small, but they grow on us like gravity and gravity still makes us fall.”
Romans 8:5-6 reiterates this, “Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
Just because you think you and your spouse would never cheat, doesn’t mean you’re immune. Unless you’re taking steps to actively protect your marital fidelity, you’re leaving your marriage open to temptation, sin, and destruction. You always have to be on guard.
- 1 Peter 5:8 “Be on your guard. Your enemy the devil is like a roaring lion. He prowls around looking for someone to chew up and swallow.”
- Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray. Then you won’t fall into sin when you are tempted. The spirit is willing. But the body is weak.“
Accountability is Key!
If you’re approached romantically by another person, let your spouse know. Karen writes,
If you find yourself attracting romantic attention [and I’d add flirtatious advances] from someone other than your husband, confide in your husband or a trusted friend. And if you find yourself attracted to someone other than your spouse… tell someone trustworthy who will give you godly counsel and hold you accountable to remain pure in thought and deed.”
Come back tomorrow as I’ll talk about taking how to talk to your husband when he’s flirting with temptation and taking precautions with online relationships.
Navigate Hurt/Conflict in a Timely Manner
Address conflict quickly. Don’t let it fester over time and provide the rock bed for temptation. Learn to fight fairly.
These suggestions were originally posted here.
Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire” (MSG).
- Don’t avoid an argument because you are afraid to fight.
- Don’t call him names. Labeling has no place in a marriage.
- Don’t hit below the belt. Everyone has “sensitive areas.” Don’t use the knowledge you have about your partner’s weaknesses/vulnerabilities against him.
- Do be humble and kind when confronting your husband. If you need to apologize for something, make sure you do this first.
- Do speak respectfully, uplifting him with your words. For example, instead of saying, “You always forget to take out the trash,” say something like, “Honey, I know you’re a busy man with many responsibilities. I would appreciate it if you’d take out the trash tonight when you get a chance please.”
- Do protect your husband’s heart by gently helping him through his sensitivities and weaknesses, and help him build his strengths.
1 Corinthians 13:7 says, “Love bears all things.”
- Don’t continually bug him about making amends. Appreciate his own timing.
- Don’t bad-mouth him.
- Do allow him the time and space he needs. If it is really bothering you that you haven’t resolved things yet, gently remind him that you would like to discuss things soon because you love him and you hate being at odds.
- Do go to God in prayer with your frustrations, anger, and pain while you’re waiting. Allow the Lord to take your burdens.
“Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air.” 1 Corinthians 14:9
- Don’t camouflage the real issue.
- Don’t use little irritants to segue into an argument.
- Do figure out what the underlying issue is – what’s “really” making you angry and upset.
- Do resolve the underlying issue as soon as possible. Avoid letting the subject fester until you explode at your husband and he has no idea what for.
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10
- Don’t bring up past offenses. 1 Corinthians 13:5 says, “…love keeps no record of wrongs.”
- Don’t ignore your husband when he’s speaking.
- Don’t be insensitive. Don’t make fun of him if he becomes emotional. James 3:4-5 warns us to “take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.“
- Don’t react before thinking, even if this means you need to walk away for a moment. Proverbs 25:28 says, “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.
- Do let the past lie in the past. Deal with the issue at hand, not what’s happened before.
- Do listen humbly if your husband is correcting you. Proverbs 12:1 says, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.”
- Do respect crying. If you’ve grieved your man enough to provoke tears, you should grieve your actions/words.
- Do restrain your mind, heart, and mouth from going places they shouldn’t by remembering these three little words: Holy Spirit, help!
“Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18
- Don’t finish a discussion about a problem without finding a solution. This doesn’t mean that if you’re unable to find a solution that you need to stay up all night or not do anything else until you’ve written out a step-by-step perfect plan. This just means don’t walk away until you both feel the tension has been eased between the two of you, and you have at the very least settled on a time to come back together to discuss solutions if you need time/space to come up with one.
- Don’t stubbornly refuse to compromise on occasion. A marriage is a give and take relationship.
- Don’t agree to do something differently and then not stick to it.
- Do be willing to work with your spouse to meet your goals in order to appease the current situation, and avoid problems in the future. Do work hard to find a solution and to resolve things between the two of you beyond the immediate situation, especially if it’s a reoccurring issue or long-term battle.
- Do be ready to negotiate and cooperate on issues, and then uphold changes. Something I often do for Adam is to give him examples of what I would like to see changed in myself and him or us as a couple together.
- Do be accountable to one another (or a trusted, godly outside party, if necessary) to make sure you stick to the changes you’ve both implemented. For example, Adam and I have discovered that we are both irritable with one another when we haven’t personally spent time in God’s Word. We’ve recently implemented this change in our marriage: asking each other every night if the other has spent time with God and then encouraging the other to do so if they haven’t already. If we have, then we ask each other about what we’re learning. This way we keep each other accountable, encourage one another to grow spiritually, and deepen our mutual spiritual intimacy.
Today’s 30 Minute Challenge (Nov 24th): Staying Accountable
Pick one of the above suggestions to work on today.
5 Minute Marathon
Write out today’s Bible verse – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12– and pray this verse over your marriage.
Lord, thank You for knowing all and seeing way beyond what I can. You know what’s best for me and for my marriage. I trust that in Your hands. Help me not be naive enough to believe that I’m immune to infidelity. I don’t want to unnecessarily worry, but I do want to actively guard my marriage, and practice fidelity and commitment to my husband. Help me to stay accountable. Help me to work through conflict in a timely manner with my spouse. I commit my marriage and my husband to You. Amen.
Take it a Step Further
Commit to being accountable and finding accountability in your marriage. Keep a journal of your thought life and emotions over the next week.
First ask yourself: what’s my motivation? Is it to get right before God? Is it to save your marriage? Is it to improve your home life? It may be all of the above or something else.
Share your expectations for marriage and your struggles in your thought life/emotions with an accountability partner – a trusted, mature Christian woman like your pastor’s wife – and have this person pray with you regularly.
This post is Day 25 in of the 30 Dates in November Challenge. Today’s post included revised parts of Put Sin to Death, Crushing a Critical Spirit, and Dont’ Rock the Boat. See related posts – The Most Important Step in Staying Faithful in Marriage, Say Yes to Sex, Zealously Protect Your Marriage, and Guard Your Mind.