The person you chose to connect your life to is a living, breathing, creation of God. He delights in your spouse!
While we know that to be true, how often do we think or act differently in our day to day life? How often are we actually treating our spouse like a thing rather than as a person?
DON’T TREAT YOUR SPOUSE LIKE A THING
Person – is to be loved, no matter what VS Thing – may be used
Whether we look to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 or the traditional marriage vows, all aspects are on how we give love to the other person. Not how we are receiving love.
When love is viewed as circumstantial it is based off of “what am I getting out of it.” Or how is it benefiting me. Meaning we end up using our spouse for the love we are receiving. Our spouse then turns into a thing to be used to get our needs met.
Person – is to be respected VS Thing – can be controlled
Respect is to admire someone or something deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements. That means acknowledging our spouse for who he/she is and focusing on their positive qualities.
To control or to manipulate is the desire to change, alter, and/or move something in the way that we want. Far too often people get married with the belief they can “change” their spouse. That thought process alters the perception of the spouse from a person to a thing that they are able to control.
While we should help encourage the growth process of our spouse. It should always be for their benefit not ours. And we are to be the supporters in the process. Not the one forcing the change.
Person – makes his/her own choices VS Thing – has no choice
This can be as benign as nagging a spouse to complete a chore. Or this can be far worse in not allowing your spouse to make the simplest of decisions.
Either way, the perception is driven by the same thought. You don’t believe your spouse is worthy of making choices and decisions. Even if this is subconscious. The view is that you’re choice and decision is superior to theirs. Your timeline is better. Your way of doing things is better. You are better.
You have placed your thoughts and views above your spouse and reduced them to something you get to demand of them.
Person – is free VS Thing – has no freedom
Free will is something God gave us so that we could actively choose Him. If we didn’t have free will, our love couldn’t be viewed as genuine.
This hold true in our marriages as well. Threats removes freedom in your marriage. Statements such as:
- “If you don’t…I’ll divorce you”
- “…I won’t have sex with you.”
- “…I’ll hurt you.”
- “…I’ll tell your…”
The ultimatum will either enslave your spouse or cause you to lose them. Neither is a positive situation.
Person – is mysterious VS Thing – can be labeled
God made each of us unique and different. Meaning our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are different than anyone else’s. We are mysterious and meant to be explored, discovered and understood.
When we place a label on our spouse we confine them to a box. We make the assumption that we know all there is to know about our spouse. (You know what they say about assumptions.)
Notice the difference:
My spouse is an angry person. My spouse has anger issues.
The first is defining and labeling your spouse. The second is acknowledging an aspect of your spouse. They are more than just their anger.
Person – has feelings VS Thing – has no feelings
As stated above. Each one of us was created uniquely. Based upon our temperament and life experiences, our thoughts lead to feelings. While we as told not to always trust our feelings, they are real.
Feelings are one of the things that separates us from things. When our spouse’s feelings are not validated, we are stating they are less than. To validate is to demonstrate or support the truth or value of.
Here’s the thing. You don’t even have to agree with the emotion. Just acknowledge that your spouse is experiencing it.
You can say something along the lines of, “I can see you are…” That one statement shows you are recognizing and validating the feelings they are having.
I pray that this post gives you pause to evaluate your thoughts and behaviors towards your spouse.
Which one of these areas is the hardest for you? Let me know in the comments below.
This article originally appeared at HumbleFaithFamilyWellness.com.