We can press this truth into our marriages. Simply put, grumbling obedience is a marriage killer. Mumbling exposes that you’re in the comparison trap and that you’re keeping score. Which of us has the tougher job? Who has sacrificed more? Grumbling and complaining is an outworking of self-pity, that subtle and sneaky form of selfishness.

And we sometimes wield such self-pity as a tool of manipulation. We wield our sacrifices as a weapon to get our way. We try to steer others by our complaining. We recognize this when we’re the target of the manipulation. We know that someone is seeking to steer us by throwing a pity party. And we should ask ourselves hard questions about it. Has such manipulation ever brought us deeper into joyful fellowship with the grumbler? Did it ever call forth the gratitude and joy that it supposedly sought? Of course not.

But seeing such manipulative grumbling in our spouse is the easy part. The hard part is recognizing it in ourselves, removing the log from our own eye, and treating others the way that we want to be treated.

So ask yourself, “How am I doing with my marital obedience? How am I doing with those marital vows? Having and holding, in sickness and in health?” Husbands, how is your leading and loving? Wives, how is your honoring and obeying? What’s the spirit beneath your obedience? Grumbling and disputing? Or glad-hearted and grateful?

Is there a hitch in your efforts to love and give yourself to your spouse? Do you find yourself muttering under your breath while doing the dishes or complaining to friends about your husband or your wife? Are you keeping score? Or are you keeping short accounts? Will the record of wrongs from last week follow you and your spouse into next week?

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