This is for the meek ones. In fact we've taken meekness to the next level, needing to remind ourselves that actually God loves us and we need to be loving towards ourselves too. The self-sacrificing person who would put the needs of the homeless person you've never met, over your own needs, because you couldn't sleep tonight knowing he is out there without. The one who gives beyond your cup running over. Gives from the cup. Gives the last sip, then scrapes the bottom looking for anything else to give away.
We fall victim too easily. We love too easily. We care so greatly. Over and above what anyone else could possibly reciprocate. We love greatly and fully and unconditionally. And trust gets broken and still we love.
I have something very important to tell you friend.
Being loving doesn't mean giving in.
There are consequences for decisions and those consequences should not be bypassed in the name of "being loving".
What do I mean by that? Don't take on the consequences of someone else in the name of love. I did it for many years and you can trust me when I tell you it leaves you empty and broken and leaves them hungry and hunting for more. They dry you out and go on to find the next one to drain. It is not loving to take on the consequences for someone else's actions.
What does that mean? Simple. Let's say, as an example, that your spouse has a spending problem. He comes home every evening with a new gadget. You've addressed the issue a few times and he wants to do better, but he never makes a real effort to make a change. Before you know it, what was $10/day turns into $20. Your budget starts to suffer. Your response is to pay off the credit card with the savings account. That's responsible of you right? You're doing the right thing by supporting your spouse and trying to just fix the issue. But pretty soon, the savings account is depleted. In addition, your spouses spending habits have increased from $20 a day to about $40. Still, you don't want to stir the waters too much. I mean he is a good man, he's not cheating, he loves the kids, helps around the house. Plus he is the bread winner, so you can let it go and just pay the bills as usual. You start seeing the credit card bill tick up. You know how to fix this though. You cut off your allowance to pay off the credit card. Maybe you will get your new shoes next month. In the mean time, his spending has increased to $50 and you're now letting the oil change drag out. Just another two weeks won't kill the car (hopefully). Now $60 and you're starting to try to shut off lights throughout the house and find ways to save water. $70 and you're couponing and cutting back on going out to save on gas. $80 and now your kids aren't getting their shoes for a couple of months. $90 and you're looking at options to refinance the house. $100 and you're looking at him, head swirling, trying to understand why this isn't fixing itself. You've been having conversations now and promises that aren't being met. $120 and you're angry now. You're not speaking. You've stopped cooking. There are no groceries in the house. $150 and you're packing your bags, just a small threat. You're not really going to do it. $200 and now he's bitter and angry at you. Why are you treating him like this? He's a good husband. Doesn't cheat. Loves your children. Doesn't hit you or hurt you. In fact, he loves you. Why are you treating him like this? And you're wounded desperately, because you've tried. You've tried to make this work and you're drowning and he doesn't care. Did your taking on the consequences of his actions show love? All it did was deplete it.
To be loving and Christlike is to allow a person to suffer the consequences of their own sins. Let God be their judge and give lenience if He chooses that. Your choosing to take on someone else's consequences essentially places you in the place of God. You are taking on the sin of someone else, causing them to look to you as their God and belittling the sacrifice Christ made and essentially robbing God of the ability to work in their life.
Take the same scenario, but this time enter God. Your husband spending $10/day. What is a wife supposed to do? Speak to him. Be upfront and firm, but loving and kind. Explain that this kind of habit isn't acceptable and will ultimately hurt your family. Set a boundary. "$10 every three days is an acceptable limit. Is thing doable for you?" And when he agrees, hold him to it. Explain that trust has been broken. And no, this is not always going to work. In my case, my ex husband pushed the boundary so far that the only solution was divorce. I pray it doesn't have to get to that place though. Don't start with that being the limit either. Things like cancelling his Netflix account or buying only the necessary groceries instead of his snacks will do a better job then packing your bags and moving in with your mom. If he really is the good man of God that he should be, he will recognize that trust being broken is a consequence of his actions. Be respectful and kind when you address your husband. Your intention is to share your hurt heart while continuing to love and not hold a grudge. Be very wise about your actions too.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
So, what is an appropriate consequence. Speak to God about it and wait for his leading. Each situation is different. For me, the consequence for years of my husband cheating became me divorcing him and getting custody of our children. He has to suffer the loss of his family and I know it still burdens him. But the consequence must match the crime. My mistake was, when my husband first cheated, giving up and acting like I did something wrong to cause him to cheat, instead of recognizing that he'd messed up in a serious way and showing him my hurt and distrust and putting distance between us immediately. An appropriate consequence is essential, but you need to be real with yourself. Don't sugar coat sin. We all have sinned and fall short of God's glory, but it doesn't mean that you have to be God and forgive and forget. No, God's job is to be God and show grace. Your job is to be human and desire to see it righted, but not to right it yourself.
This means not taking matters into your own hands too though. If he spent $10 on a car wash, don't go driving his car through the mud to punish him. That's revenge, not consequence. No, if he continues to push the boundaries, you need to address it. "Do you understand you've crossed my boundary? Can you please explain why you did it? I feel betrayed and don't trust you." A man who is acting in his Biblical calling to love his wife will hear you. Maybe not the first or second or third time though. Show grace. But don't let it slide and keep pressing the fact that you're hurt until he gets it and if he doesn't, the consequence falls to him.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
My prayer is that as you honor your husband and respectfully bring your grievances to him, that his heart would live up to the love he is called to biblically.
1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.