When my wife came into the kitchen about 30 minutes later and saw the mess she asked me who spilled the spinach on the floor and did not clean it up. Being the mature, sensitive adult male that I am, I responded with, “What spinach?” When she asked again I blamed it on the culprit who put it in the refrigerator in the first place. I went from one childish tactic to another with justifications and rationalizations of reasoning that let me off the hook and blamed someone else.
Later I came back to her and owned up to my childish attitude and response and took responsibility and cleaned up the mess. We may not be able to act in a mature adult way in the moment but coming back in humility and taking responsibility for our childish ways can be healing for the relationship. Admitting and confessing the exact nature of our wrongs builds connection. Don’t hide, don’t excuse and don’t rationalize away immature behavior like children often do. In James 5:16 it says to "Confess your sins to one another so that you may be healed." We often confess to God however, it is sometimes brings more humility to confess to our spouses.
Identifying our childish ways of speaking, thinking and reasoning that undermine our relationship requires supernatural help. We deceive ourselves. We don’t always see clearly. We need God’s help. We need to ask Him to search us, examine us, try us and see if there is any hurtful childlike ways in our hearts and help us change and grow. God will use our spouse and children more than any other people to make us aware of our blind spots and help transform our character. A wise man will take correction and a fool will put up a bold front. Without humility and an openness to accept our spouse’s influence, we might miss opportunities to grow up into adulthood and mature love.
Loving one another requires two adults seeking to mature and both making an effort to put away their childish ways of thinking and responding. As we follow this commandment, we can love each other the way Christ knows will strengthen our relationship and bring Him glory.
Please share any thoughts with us on how God is working in you to grow you up into adulthood in your marriage. What childlike behaviors have you had to overcome?