Anyone married knows that with love, comes disagreements. After being married over 11 years, we have experienced seasons of bliss and seasons strung with arguments.

The other week, I was tired. Tired of disagreements and heightened frustrations that had become too prevalent. When we had cooled off to talk, my husband shed light on his leading frustration. He said that I was constantly disagreeing about how he corrected the kids, in front of them. My first instinct was to lunge into defense mode.

But when I quieted down and listened to my husband, hurt echoed from his heart.

Two simple words circled through my mind and wouldn’t leave. The two words, FOR HIM, glared at me from within. As my husband’s wife and best friend, I needed to be on his team, and for him. But instead, I had been consumed with being right and for me.

The words for him led my thoughts the next several days. Before I spoke or a tone let loose, I did my best to filter them through these two words. When I wasn’t on my guard and so concerned with defending myself, I was able to be for my spouse.

When my boxing fists were lowered, so were his. When I went out of my way to be for him, he went out of his way to be for me.

As we aim to be for our spouses, we will fail at times. But Jesus shows us what forgiveness looks like. When people let Jesus down time and time again, he forgave. When we let Him down time and time again, He forgives. He doesn’t let up. He shows love and humility. Jesus is for you.

When we want to throw our arms in the air and call it quits, he beckons us to show love, humility, forgiveness. And to be for our spouses.

When we seek him, he will set us free from bitterness so we can forgive and be forgiven. No relationship can survive without it. It’s impossible. A real relationship will have brokenness at some point. But because of forgiveness, when we and our spouses are selfish and fall short for the umpteenth time, we can come together again.

Instead of letting the battle wall rise, we can dismantle it by letting our guard down and being for one another.

On my wedding day, my youth pastor shared these timeless words about managing expectations of our spouses: “Whatever expectations either of you have for the other, drop them. Neither of you will ever be able to meet them.”

If we expect our spouses to be perfect, our relationships will remain broken. But, if we can accept that our spouses have faults and forgive and love them through it, Jesus will mend our relationships and make them stronger.

When we feel wronged, instead of barking back, let’s be on our spouse’s side. Let’s speak with support in our hearts and gentleness in our tones.

Let’s be for our spouses so our time together will be more enjoyable and peaceful, and so the kingdom of God will shine through us to those we love most.

You may also like: 

15 Secrets of a Happy Marriage

The Two Most Important Words in Our Marriage

God is For Me

Dear Husband, Even When Our Marriage Feels Hard, I Am With You

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Linsey Driskill

My husband and I live in Virginia with our 7-year-old triplets. I’m passionate about encouraging families in following Jesus and his words: to love God and love others. I love authenticity, simplicity, spontaneity, and a good cup of coffee! You can find me at LinseyDriskill.com and @BeautifulHeartedParenting.