Scripture Reading: Proverbs 16:2
All a man’s ways seem innocent to him,
but motives are weighed by the Lord.
Our scripture for today reminds us that God judges our motives. No one else can because it is the motives that are out of sight – unlike our actions. It’s my opinion that understanding the differences between motive and behavior is critical in a marriage. Let’s use a toddler as an illustration of this point. If you asked your toddler to bring you a glass of water, they would juggle that glass over to you – spilling most of the water. A good parent would never punish the child for spilling the water if they could see that the child was doing their best. On the other hand, if the parent could tell that the child spilled the water on purpose, it would result in some punishment. It wasn’t the water spilling that made the difference, it was the perceived “motive!”
Two people living together in a marriage relationship are going to “spill some water” on each other. That is never a pleasant experience. Frustrating moments and thoughtless behavior are all human and unavoidable aspects of being married! But when one partner ascribes intentional motives to these hurtful behaviors, damage to the relationship goes much deeper than the original “spilled water.” It is extremely important to ask questions before assigning motives to your spouse. Give them a chance to explain the behavior – or lack of! An angry response to an unintentional hurt is like yelling at your toddler for childish behavior. Be slow in assigning motives!
Father, I’m glad you look upon our hearts and see our motives. Please help me to assume the best in my spouse – not the worst! In Jesus’ Name, amen.