The Dreaded Snot-Sucker
By Bruce Goff
Getting your snot sucked out is terrifying.
But for little ones, nose blowing can be tricky. So my wife uses this snot-sucker thing on our girls.
She drew a face on the contraption and pretends, “It’s Mr. Snot Sucker, here to suck out your snot!”
It works. It’s momming to the max. And I’m impressed.
One night, after Mr. Snot Sucker saved the day, I had a crazy thought.
I should tell her how impressed I am.
So I did.
She seemed genuinely pleased to hear the compliment. Then we had a heart-connecting chat, as one may encounter after mucus extraction.
Kissing me goodnight, she said, "I love you so much." She even texted the next day thanking me for wonderful conversation.
It was out of the ordinary, because normally I'm really good at picking out minor flaws and bringing them to my wife's attention. It's constructive feedback, I tell myself. She'll thank me later, I imagine.
Unfortunately, instead of helping, the barrage of micro-critiques tears her down—one little pelt at a time.
But you know what I’m really bad at?
Picking out something worth praising and bringing it to my wife's attention.
It's not for lack of things to praise. It's my sin nature causing a gross mess in the depths of my soul. It’s wanting my wife’s conformity to every tiny detail of my expectations, instead of loving her as my gift from God.
Philippians 4:8 says, “... if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Is my wife perfect? No.
Is there room in marriage for gracious constructive criticism? Yes.
But that night was kind of a breakthrough.
It’s good to know God is still sanctifying me (Philippians 1:6 NIV). He’s taking the gross stuff out. It can be terrifying, but He’s good.
The good stuff: Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)
Action points: Try to think of one thing to compliment your spouse on today that you’ve never voiced before, and tell him or her. Ask God to help you make it a regular part of your marriage.
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