Cease caring on your partner – Crosswalk {Couples} Devotional

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Stop taking care of your spouse
By: Anne Peterson

Those who hide a transgression seek love, but who repeats one thing separates intimate friends. – Proverbs 17: 9

I was so frustrated. I felt my feelings run away from me. And I not only felt hurt, I had to talk about it.

What I didn't realize at the time was that expressing frustration can sometimes stay in our listener's memory bank. For example, a friend told me a story about an irresponsible friend. I knew him; We were all part of the same community. First I saw myself help my friend by being a soundboard. I felt a nagging feeling when she shared these negative things. But sometimes I had learned to silence these feelings. And I felt important, glad that she chose me to trust me.

What is worse is that I too have been guilty of going to others to be my soundboard if someone has hurt me.

A few days later, when we all gathered when I saw this person, I couldn't forget what my friend had shared. Her words cast a bad shadow on him. And try like me, I couldn't forget what I heard.

One day I approached my friend and told her I couldn't hear what she felt about this other person. I told her my opinion about him changed based on what I heard.

Years later I went to my small group of friends and I didn't care what it looked like. But suddenly I realized that nobody in our group of friends was doing the same. It was such an eye opener. It was really humble.

When we repeat negative things about someone, we tarnish their character. There is more at stake in marriage. Our spouse is our friend, our intimate friend. And when we lay down our spouse, we drive a wedge into our marriage.

In 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7, God says that love is kind. Love is not uncomfortable. Love does not take wrong suffering into account. Love hopes all things and endures all things. Repeating negative things is the opposite of all of these things. It is completely unfriendly, uncomplicated, it lingers on the wrong suffering. It is without hope and shows a lack of acceptance. It is wrong.

In my words, I had become a judge and a jury. I had used my words as weapons to kill my husband's character. Someone who should be my friend, my intimate friend.

No wonder I wasn't close to my husband. I was the one who created the distance.

Yes, there are times when we feel like venting. But God is always available to us. What we share with others stays with them. You could permanently ruin your spouse's reputation, even if he or she changes. But God hears things through his love filter, he knows the whole story, he knows where you are doing something wrong.

So what can you do when the frustrations increase? Writing a letter that you throw in the trash is an option. It is an option to go for a walk and give your heart to the Lord. But leaving all your anger to a friend is not an option.

Since I stopped turning to others about my spouse, I feel closer to him. Everything because God gently showed me what I did was harmful. I had to go to God. What frustrations, wounds, or challenges do you feel the urge to share with a friend? Can you instead try to inflict these injuries on your loving father?

Anne Peterson and her husband Michael have been married for 43 years. Anne is a poet, speaker, and published author of 15 books, including her latest book Always There: Finding God's Consolation Through Loss. Anne also wrote and published another paper, Broken: A Story of Abuse, Survival, and Hope. Sign up for Anne's newsletter at www.annepeterson.com and receive a free eBook by clicking the tab. Or connect to her on Facebook.

For more great resources for Christian couples, go to Crosswalk’s Marriage channel.

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