Running errands the other day, I saw a good family friend. He greeted me by saying, “Darby, you are looking thin!” We joyfully chatted for no more than five minutes before parting ways. His words about my appearance were the highlight of my day. As I told Jason about our encounter, I smiled and said, “He said I looked thin!” Jason replied, “I say that every day.” My husband wasn’t upset at our conversation or what our friend had said. He was merely pointing out that I tend to put more stock in what other’s say than what he says.
And it’s true.
I often dismiss his compliments as something he has to say and not what is the truth. When making a decision, I’ll ask Jason for his opinion, but then ask my friends for theirs. When I finally take their advice (which is often the same as his), Jason will comment, “Isn’t that what I initially said?”
Danger lurks when another’s words mean more to me than my husband’s.
Two problems can occur when I place a higher value on what people outside of my house say.
First, there is always the potential that a male friend might say something that Satan (and my flesh) will use to introduce comparisons, daydreams, or maybe even butterflies. When a male speaks a compliment to me and it means more than the kind words from the man who shares my bed, there is a problem with my heart. I love how Becky Thompson describes this in her blog post, Beware of Quicksand: How One Stranger’s Comment Changed My Marriage Forever:
Because, you know, the most dangerous threats to our marriage don’t always look like steep drop off. They don’t look like a place that is obviously hazardous that we can easily avoid. Sometimes, the most dangerous threats to our marriage look like a friendship with a coworker, or church member, or that nice single dad in the car-line at school. They look like a safe unassuming kindness of a stranger in the store that makes us think that perhaps we could go back on a different day at the same time and see that nice man again who would pay us more attention.
The second issue is one of respect. When I ignore my husband’s opinions and advice but listen carefully to what my friends say, I’m disrespecting the man I vowed to honor. On the surface, this offense may seem less severe, but it is just as perilous. Wives are called to respect their husbands, and my disobedience negatively affects our relationship.
Wives, respect and obey your husbands in the same way. ~ 1 Peter 3:1a
And the wife should respect her husband. ~Ephesians 5:33b
I need to reset my scale so that I don’t value another’s words more.
- When my husband says something kind, I need to believe it.
- If I ask him for his advice, I need to take it.
- A compliment from another person should not elevate my self-worth.
Resetting the scale begins with God’s Word.
I’m fortunate in that my husband is a kind and wise Christ follower, but I can still gift my husband freedom by seeking my worth in the Word. And it’s true that some spouses communicate the opposite of what God says. They devalue and attack their wives. I don’t know if that is your experience, but if it is, please know that what God says about you is the absolute truth. God’s Word about our worth must overshadow the words of everyone else.
Do you ever struggle with allowing another’s words to mean more than the words of your husband or the Lord?