Does it ever feel like your spouse brings out the worst in you? Maybe you’ve said the same thing I’ve said. When you have a bad attitude, it goes something like this… “I’m not like this with anyone else. I’m not like this with my friends. I’m not like this at work. I’m not like this at church. I’m only like this when I’m with you!” So the logical conclusion? The blame for my bad attitude must be YOU!!! Makes sense doesn’t it? And actually there is some truth to that logic. But, if we stop there then we miss the most important principle in the whole exchange. I’ll get to that in a minute.
First I want you to picture yourself holding an orange. If you squeeze that orange what will you get? The answer of course is orange juice. The fact is no matter what day you squeeze it, no matter who squeezes it, no matter how hard you squeeze it; every time you squeeze that orange, orange juice will come out. You’ll never get lemon juice or pineapple juice. It will always be orange juice. And the reason is obvious and simple – that’s what’s inside! Well guess what? When our spouse squeezes us, as they are often very good at, what comes out is what’s inside.
But here is the important principle. In his book, Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas asks the question, “What if marriage isn’t just to make you happy, but to make you more holy?” What if, the reason our spouse is able to bring out the “worst” in us, is so God can do a work in us. If you’re anything like me you can keep the orange juice inside in front of most people. But with your spouse that juice just comes flowing out. What would happen if, rather than fight the squeezing our spouse does, we actually invited them in to expose those inner parts that God wants to do a work on. Painful to be sure. But isn’t that pain worth it, if it leads to being more Christlike.
So the next time you’re tempted to blame your spouse for your bad attitude. Know that you’re right and then thank them!