5. Say Yes More Than No
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"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." (Philippians 2:3-4)
I heard this piece of advice part way through my parenting journey, but it also applies to our marriages. When my children were young (maybe in response to the Terrible Twos), I found myself saying No much more than I said Yes.
“No, you can’t climb on the table.” “No, you can’t watch another video.” “No, you can’t eat ice cream for breakfast.” I said No so often it became my default response. Then a wise woman advised me to say yes whenever possible. As I evaluated why I said No so often, I realized that while I had some good reasons to say No to my children’s requests, many times I said No because of preference or, dare I admit, laziness.
The same is true in my marriage. I say No when my husband asks me to watch a football game because I’d rather read a book. I say No to his suggestion that we grill burgers because I prefer chicken. I say No to his invitation to go to bed early because I’m tired (You know what I mean).
But my husband is my best friend. The father of my children. And the man God gave me to love and respect all the days of my life. He deserves a Yes whenever possible, even if it means yielding my preferences.
Isn’t this what sacrificial love is all about? I don’t think we’ll receive any spiritual rewards for loving our husbands the way we prefer to, the easy way, the convenient way. But God rewards us every time we say Yes when we’d rather say No (Hebrews 6:10). Maybe not in this life, but certainly in the next.
Even without the promise of eternal rewards, seeing my husband’s smile when I snuggle up next to him to watch a football game (with my book in my lap) is reward enough.
Sadly, our world has made respect something our husbands have to earn, bargain for, or demand. God designed it as a way to show love. Gestures of respect, even small ones, can accomplish great things. As we respect our husband, we help them become all God created them to be. They—and we—become more like Jesus.
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself." (Philippians 2:5-8)
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