When he first brought up the oven problem to me, I didn't think much about it. "Oops! I didn't mean to do that!" Problem solved. Then it happened again. And again. It's a wonder I didn't burn down the house! But, the more often he mentioned it to me, the more irritated I got -- maybe because deep down, I felt embarrassed that I couldn't remember such a simple thing. I got fussy sometimes, reminding him just who it was that did the cooking, anyway.

Another piece of advice we received before we married was to accept each other “as is,” expecting the other to stay exactly the same for the next 80 years -- but be willing to change ourselves if we realize our own habits disturb the other. And if one of us requests the other make a change, make sure it is truly important. I will admit that, in retrospect, the shirt ordeal was not even worth a discussion. The oven, however, had merit.  

If a couple spends their time nit-picking each other instead of accepting each other as they are, they will eventually lose focus of their mission as a family -- to glorify God and enhance His kingdom, and to nurture a strong, close bond to last a lifetime..

It's so easy to see your husband or wife's faults as big, glaring problems, and not see your own at all. Romans 12:3 says, "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." In this, Paul is admonishing the Church to work together as one body, with respect and love, so that God can be glorified. He urges each member to understand how their differences lead to a complete, functioning body. He also says in verse 10 of that chapter, "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." That's good advice for our marriages!

Mmmmm... I smell gingerbread cookies. Did I turn the oven off?

Jen Booth is a social worker and a budding author. She resides with her husband in Louisiana. You can contact her at jenbooth26@aol.com.