I hate chewing gum.
I trace my disdain back to when I was seven years old, and my older brother rubbed three pieces of freshly chewed Super Bubble all over my face. Twenty-five years later, I can still feel the slimy, sticky mess on my skin. Needless to say, I have not since touched a piece of gum.
I have an unusual routine that I follow whenever anyone around me is chewing gum. Holding my breath to avoid the stench, I mentally find my happy place in hopes of drowning out the snapping and popping that the saliva-filled ball is making between their teeth. I physically gag if I see someone remove a piece from their mouth. While my husband, Jason, does not share the same anti-gum sentiments, he has removed it from his life. In fact, he has not chewed a piece of gum in front of me since we first started dating.
Until last Sunday.
We briefly parted ways before meeting in the sanctuary as the service started. Immediately I noticed his jaw line moving but assumed he was eating a cough drop. However, as his jaw continued to move, I grew curious. As I leaned in to ask him what was in his mouth, his breath answered before I could get the words out. He was chewing gum! I positioned my body away from him hoping to block out the sight. I breathed shallowly to avoid the scent.
For the remainder of the day, I was indignant.
I was angry that Jason would choose to chew gum in front of me. My guess is that someone offered him a piece, and he said yes because I wasn’t around! He knows how I feel and in all of our years of marriage I’ve never encountered this situation! I kept wondering what would make him choose to do something he knows I hate? The more I stewed over the events, the more upset I became. I felt like I had a right to be angry at Jason’s insensitivity!
Skimming the Bible, I desperately sought justification for my indignation.
I could argue that my husband didn’t love me sacrificially because he intentionally made a choice he knew would upset me. I could twist the situation to portray myself as a victim of my husband’s cruel nature. But, neither of those scenarios contains one ounce of truth. Jason did not sin (against me or the Lord) by accepting a piece of gum. In fact, he did not chew obnoxiously, blow bubbles, try to kiss me, or anything that might have exasperated the situation. Despite my earnest search, I found no Scriptural evidence supporting my attitude.
Instead, I found God’s Word confronting me!
As frustrating as it is for me to accept, I cannot dictate the world’s gum consumption! Placing myself and my wants before anyone else is certainly not in line with Scripture.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. ~ Philippians 2:3
I gave my husband the silent treatment and refused to look at him simply because he chewed a piece of gum! My pride flared up to the point I felt justified in my reaction and could not see any fault in it. Satan assured me of my right to have a hizzy fit because my husband had wronged me.
… Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? ~1 Corinthians 6:7
The more I sought God with my don’t-I-have-a-right-to-be-angry question, the more His Word, and the Holy Spirit kept telling me no. The way I treat my husband matters! It is important to Jason, our children, and God! The Lord opened my eyes to the reality that when I insist on having a right to be angry, I vilify my husband and give Satan a foothold in our marriage. I need to be in a better habit of bringing my frustrations to the Lord before assuming that they are justified. When I align my life and attitude to God’s standards, immediately petty annoyances fade in the face of choosing love, joy, peace, and patience.
Have you ever wished you had a right to be mad at your husband when in reality you did not?!
Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that today’s post is about small annoyances in marriage. There are certainly times when anger is justified in Scripture. The words of this post may not apply to you and your situation.