Well, hello there. Glad you stopped in to see if I was being heretical. I figured most of my readers are either long-time believers or current biblical scholars. I had to get your attention somehow. Gotcha! Bwahahaha...that's my villian laugh.
Looking back at the couples that I've had in my office, my friends' marriages, and even my own, I've realized yet another common thread that, often times, gets passed over. 1 Corinthians 13 is often quoted in premarital counseling, weddings, showers, and basically any other event where marriage is the focus. Verse 5 states, "it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." So, advice-givers typically make the point of, "Don't bring up something your spouse has done in the past to use it against them in a current argument." Pretty much all marriage counselors in the US will agree to that basic principle, believers or not. Duh.
"Got that, Cari," you think.
But do you really?
See, I think we sometimes go about breaking this rule in a more subtle but just as harmful way. I may not bring up a past offense in a...ahem...discussion with my husband, but I WILL start thinking of all the ways in which I have been right. All the things I've done for him. The sacrifices I've made. The times I did something I didn't want to in the name of "selflessness". In other words, I start keeping score. But it's not a score of wrongs that he's "done wrong"...it's a score of things that I've "done right." This is no more God-honoring than the record of wrongs. It puffs up pride. It is horridly self-centered, and it is in no way Christ-like.
In effect, when we choose to do this, we are constantly reminding our spouse that WE are the superior being. You are telling them, "I am the better half of this relationship. You should be thanking me all day long. You will never be as good as I am...at least until you do all of _______. You can never win this argument because I hold all the trump cards with all of the good things I've done."
As if there is such a thing as "winning" an argument, anyway.
Friends, there is nothing wrong with loving and serving your partner. In fact, you have been commanded to do so (and you've been commanded to do it respectfully). You are to also cherish them. They are your best friend, your love, and your confidant. However, the minute your pride starts keeping a checklist of the great things you've done (I've heard from my husband and his friends that this is particularly hard for men to avoid), you are no longer exhibiting the agape love that you have been called to. Your marriage becomes unbalanced, and the cycle of hurt and anger begins.
Protect your marriage, keep a list of the things the Lord has done for you. Review it. Memorize it. You will not give grace to your spouse if you forget what you have been forgiven for. Then, keep a list of how amazing your husband or wife is. And, no, I don't care how long it takes you to make that list. In the over-quoted words of Nike, "Just do it."
"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom"