Joe and I love how technology has enabled us to track so many things. We can track meals, workouts, finances, schedules, all this data to see where we stand.
But if I’m honest, I also use a couple invisible apps where I track my spouse’s behavior. A little comparison tool to track how he’s doing and who’s ahead. Whew, I’m ahead. These apps don’t help us to encourage each other or reach mutual goals. Instead we use them to push each other down and push us apart. 1 Corinthians calls it keeping a record of wrongs. Do you ever catch yourself checking any of these apps?
WHO HAS HURT WHOM MORE APP
This app is to keep track of who has hurt whom and how often and how badly. All those things your spouse has ever done to hurt you all on one list. And the details of why it was so wrong.
Is it possible for someone’s actions to be more hurtful than someone else’s? Of course. But putting them on a scale and saying what you did was worse or you did more doesn’t erase the hurt. It only allows more bitterness to grow.
Delete this app by choosing to forgive and forgive often. Be vulnerable with each other in the ways you have felt hurt. The real problem with these lists of wrongs is that your spouse doesn’t even know about half the things on the list. He doesn’t. Your spouse can’t apologize and make it right if he doesn’t know what he did that hurt you.
WHO HAS THE HARDER LIFE APP
This app is for tracking who has it tougher. It reminds you of all things in your life that are hard and the junk you have to deal with. The ways that you sacrifice that no one else seems to notice.
Modern society has taught us that’s it a badge of honor to be busy and have it tough. We want other to know just how stressed we are and that we have it harder than anyone else. Especially our spouse.
I have done this in my marriage a lot and it’s something that I have to fight daily. It is so easy for me to get into that mindset, where I look only at my life and the load I am carrying and assume I have it harder. And once I’m convinced I have it harder, then my needs become front and center. There’s no desire to serve my husband or think about his needs.
Delete this app by choosing to serve your spouse. Look at what parts of your life need be adjusted so you have time and energy left for your spouse at the end of the day. Commit to share each other’s burdens, not hold them over each other’s heads.
WHO IS LESS OF A SINNER APP
This app is to remind you that you’re not as bad of a sinner as your spouse. It tells you at which point in the sermon to elbow your husband: This is for you. Because it’s obviously not for me!
It’s easier for me to list off what sins my husband struggles with than deal with my own. Especially when our struggles are different and at least I don’t struggle with that!!
Delete this app by choosing to humble yourself and look inward. As we always say in Re|Engage, draw a circle around yourself and work on everyone in the circle. I knew God was working in me when I was grieved more by how I have hurt my husband than the ways he has hurt me. As we draw near to God, we become convicted by our own sins, not others’.
Learn to see yourself in light of the cross.
Keeping those lists and score cards are the way that we justify ourselves, the way we know that we’re good enough, worthy enough, better. But being good enough really is impossible. Our righteousness is only as filthy rags.
When we see ourselves through the lens of what Jesus did for us on the cross- and what we’ve been forgiven of- it changes everything. There’s nothing to compare. Isn’t it amazing that our slate has been wiped clean? God knows all the we have done and has not counted our sins against us or used them as a reason to withhold His love. We need to do the same with those that we love!
Stop playing the game.
Rip up the lists and scoresheets. Or even better, play in reverse. Start making that list of what your spouse does right and all the ways he loves you. Find ways for your spouse to win. Give him all the points. Value your spouse higher than yourself!
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5