As I revealed in Part 3, my husband and I heard Gary Thomas speak at a retreat on Sacred Marriage a few years ago. Two of the ideas he put forth changed our marriage. Today we’ll cover the second idea. When we can grasp this and keep it in our minds we will treat each other differently. Respectfully. Valuing each other. Loving as Christ loved. But when we forget, we get in a “crazy cycle.”
This second idea is simple:
2. View your spouse as God’s own child.
Your first reaction may be, “Well of course I view him that way. We’re all God’s children.” Or maybe, “That’s too simplistic. What difference does that thought make?” Or maybe even, “Lady, I’ve got real problems in my marriage. Tell me some hands-on tips to help.” I understand. We reject easy things because they seem too simple to offer any real help.
But let me share our experience.
As my husband and I drove home from Asheville after that marriage retreat at The Cove, we talked about this concept extensively. On a day-to-day basis we looked at each other as just another human. A person of flesh and blood. A person affected by stress and their own personal issues. A person who sinned and sought God. A person who was often selfish and unkind.
While that is normal, it is not totally accurate. We humans are more than just flesh and blood, thoughts and action, sins and good deeds. We are spiritual creatures created in the image of God. Not just my husband and I, but you every person on this earth (saved and unsaved, American or from any other nation, male and female, and people of every race) bears the Imago Dei. This image of God in us is a reflection of His divine nature and unique characteristics and qualities that make us different from any other living creature. We are rational, creative, self-aware, and able to go beyond what seems physically possible all because we were made in the image of God. (Check out this article from Christianity.com for further info.)
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27
On top of that, we who claim to be Christ-followers, Christians, have become adopted children of God Almighty. We become children of God at the time of our salvation and are brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ Himself. You are God’s child. Your Sunday school teacher is God’s child. Your grocery store clerk who knows Christ is God’s child. That co-worker who knows Christ is God’s child. And Your husband or wife who is a believer is God’s child too, just like you.
So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Galatians 4:7
So God not only made your husband in His image, your husband is also God’s little boy whom He loves dearly.
Now think for a minute as if God were a human walking this earth. The day you wed, you married the son of someone very important! God’s very own child. God became your father-in-law on that day. God, who knows all, because He’s omniscient you know, knows how you teat His child. He knows when you’re kind and considerate toward him and when you’re… not. He knows when you use your mouth to pray for him and when you use it to shout at him. He knows when your heart is hateful toward him or tender. Your father-in-law is aware of your behavior and thoughts. And He is a very important person. He is the God of the universe, the One who created you!
As my husband and I talked through this whole concept I began to feel small and embarrassed. It was one thing just to be fussing at a man, but I had been fussing at God’s child! I had been discouraging God’s child by my words and behavior. I had belittled God’s child and wounded him and not supported the ministry God had given him, and I had not forgiven him when he wounded me. How could I of flesh and blood presume not to forgive God’s child when Father God had forgiven me so great a debt! As we allowed ourselves to meditate on this idea, and this concept to deeply resonate through us it was extremely humbling. It was a behavior-changing moment.
The next few weeks after we returned home found my husband and I behaving more gently, lovingly, and circumspectly toward each other. The problem with us humans, is that we that we are sinful and selfish by nature, and we are forgetful hearers. We hear a lesson from God’s mouth through a godly speaker straight to our heart. We are intent on learning it. However, we shortly forget and fall back into our sinful, selfish habits.
The good news is this: The Father wants us to live a new life even more than we want to for ourselves. So Father God sends us reminders of those lessons we learned and forgot. I get regular reminders that my Sweetie is God’s precious little boy, and I am humbled once again and reminded to treat my Man as the Beloved of the Father, an important Son of the King of Kings, and not just as any ole piece of flesh that we humans so easily disregard and devalue. No matter how old they are or what they did or didn’t do – they are God’s dear child.
In light of these thoughts I encourage you to write this idea down if needed and think on it. It will change the way we treat our spouses when we remember that 1) they are created in God’s image and 2) they are God’s very own little child. As our thoughts change, our behavior toward that mate will change as well.