What I Hate, I Do
Marybeth Whalen

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15 (NIV)

He came home from work, feeling tired I am sure. But instead of complaining, he rolled his sleeves up and jumped right in making french toast and frying bacon for our dinner. As he worked, he told me about the rough day he had—more than 100 people had been laid off at his company. While he had not been laid off, he felt sorry for those who had been, and wondered if he would be on the next list of names.

After dinner, he tackled bath times with the younger kids. After they were safely tucked into bed, he took one son with him to the store. He returned home happy, reeling off the things on the list he had gotten for me.

"You didn't get the vitamins," I told him. "That was the whole reason you went!" His smile disappeared. Bewildered, he offered to go back out and get the vitamins if we really needed them. "Well, of course we do or I wouldn't have asked for them," I said. He left again. It was late. He was tired.

He returned home for the second time, happy again, brandishing an off brand bottle of the vitamins I had asked for. "These were buy one, get one free!" he said, waving two boxes, one in each hand. I took one look at those boxes and sneered.

"There are some things you don't bargain shop for," I chided. He slunk off to the kitchen to stow the vitamins in the cabinet, out of sight. Later, he fell asleep on the couch, the book he had attempted to read rising and falling on his chest as he slept.

This is an actual scene from life at my house. This morning as I was in prayer, God brought that scene to mind, allowing me to see my ugliness. Here we see this really great guy trying to serve and love and give - and here we see his snippy, unappreciative wife totally dropping the ball on loving and serving him in return. Instead we see how she wants her own way and pouts like a two year-old when she doesn't get it. We see that, once again, her need to say little unnecessary comments surfaces. We see her focusing on the negative and missing so much positive in the process.

Today I was reminded again of what I have - and what I stand to lose. My words wound or, at the very least, fall far short of what they could bring to my husband's life. I choose to nitpick instead of nurture. I choose to litigate instead of love. I hate these choices I make, and yet, again and again I go back to this same driving need to plead my case, assert my rights, get my way, and be first. When God asks me to be willing to be last (Mark 9:35). In life. And in marriage.

I want to do better, to speak kinder, to look for the many good things instead of seizing on the bad. I want to be a wife who brings him good and not harm all the days of her life (Proverbs 31:12). I am working on it, but some days I fall right back into flesh patterns that are so evil and ugly I recoil at my own image when it's played out for me. I know better - I should do better.Tomorrow, I will try again. And, Honey? Thanks for hanging in there on days when I don’t.
Dear Lord, help me to honor my husband with my words, my deeds and my thoughts. Help me to realize that my words matter. I can choose to build him up or tear him down. Help me to choose to build him up and give me the strength to do so. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Becoming a Woman of Influence (CD) by Marybeth Whalen

The Love Dare

Praying Through the Deeper Issues of Marriage: Protecting Your Relationship So It Will Last a Lifetime by Stormie Omartian

Visit Marybeth’s blog

Application Steps:
The next time you are tempted to speak unkind words to your husband, pray first, recognizing that God can give you victory over your flesh through His Spirit.

Reflections:
A question I ask myself often is: Is it more important for you to be right or in relationship?

Power Verses:
Romans 8:6, “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” (NIV)

Galatians 5:17, “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” (NIV)

© 2009 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.

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19 Comments:

Blogger Crystal said...

Wow. This was exactly what I needed this morning. I had a horrible dream last night that made my heart beat out of my chest this morning. I have so much to lose and at the same time, so much to be thankful for. Thank you for this devotional this morning, it spoke right to my heart and stays as a reminder of the selflessness God loves so much. Thank you.

Anonymous Becky said...

I feel so convicted. This applies so deeply to the way I've been treating my kids lately. I don't even know why. I wish that someone could help me be a better version of me instead of the one that we're all stuck with. How do you take this and apply it when you feel so empty?

Anonymous Julie Sanders said...

What a great reminder of being a "helper" who really helps. :) The heavier the load, the more critical it seems to make it that we love and lift. Thank you, MaryBeth, for sharing!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This totally spoke to my heart. I have a very quick temper, which I am asking the Lord to help me with. But sometimes it feels like a very slow process. My husband is so loving and kind, the exact opposite of me. I find myself lashing out at him because he's there...instead of saying thank you Jesus that he is there and appreciating him.

Thank you for sharing so honestly what the Lord showed you.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just got engaged on Sunday. Thank you for the reminder of what kind of wife I should prayerfully strive to be!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for todays devotion! I am sitting at my desk crying after reading this because it is exactly who I am and exactly who I don't want to be. I beg God to change me, but I find myself in the same old place. I will keep trying too!! Thanks again for the inspiration!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah,we are all guilty of this,not only by how we treat our spouses but other people as well,friends parents,people who really need us,people we don't know and yes- even people we dislike,were all sinners and need Jesus Christ and His salvation! Treat everyone how God has treated us-- with Grace,kindness,love and Mercy,we all need that kind of love!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This truly is an eye opener we all
hope to be spiritually driven and hope to be able to diffuse and react in a godly manner when the need arises, it is a lot harder than we expect. That is the reason that I thank God because I am starting to
learn how to detach myself and focus
on a solution instead. The times we
are living are very hard not more than ever we must press on god.
Many blessings to all, we all know
how much God loves us and he is only a prayer away.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't tell you how many times I've lost my patience. What a wonderful reminder to be present in the now. Always having God to fall back on.I wish I could be reprogrammed to think about love and patience before I say saomething that might be inappropriate?? ?Thanks for all the wonderful shares. Its really helpful to have this support!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that this story not only involves or applies to married people, but everyday people (single, divorced, widowed, young,old, children), because I fell into this type of behavior at work, and once the supervisor finished talking down to me I still gave her a hug and thanked her for talking to me about my bad behavior and attitude (I love everyone and anyone no matter who they are). The counseling ended and the Lord told me to give her a hug of gratefulness, and she was shocked. I'm staying in prayer for my job and supervisor, but I know that I belong to God, and Satan is mad at me for this committment. Please stay blessed!
Petra Dawson

Anonymous Anonymous said...

P said....
I think that this story not only involves or applies to married people, but everyday people (single, divorced, widowed, young,old, children), because I fell into this type of behavior at work, and once the supervisor finished talking down to me I still gave her a hug and thanked her for talking to me about my bad behavior and attitude (I love everyone and anyone no matter who they are). The counseling ended and the Lord told me to give her a hug of gratefulness, and she was shocked. I'm staying in prayer for my job and supervisor, but I know that I belong to God, and Satan is mad at me for this committment. Please stay blessed!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that this story not only involves or applies to married people, but everyday people (single, divorced, widowed, young,old, children), because I fell into this type of behavior at work, and once the supervisor finished talking down to me I still gave her a hug and thanked her for talking to me about my bad behavior and attitude (I love everyone and anyone no matter who they are). The counseling ended and the Lord told me to give her a hug of gratefulness, and she was shocked. I'm staying in prayer for my job and supervisor, but I know that I belong to God, and Satan is mad at me for this committment. Please stay blessed!

Blogger Carrie said...

Thank you so much for this. I heard you on the radio on the way home from penance service, and I was lead to visit this website. Today's reflection could have been written by me! I know that God led me here to teach me, and I thank you for taking the time to teach and help others. This is just what I needed today. Blessings.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the word for today, like everyone lse on this page GOD spoke directly to me through this devotion. I aqm a struggling newlywed who is married to an awesome man who is kind and loving and a great provider and all I can seem to focus on sice we got married is the little things that I dont like about him and some things that GOD already tod me to pray about for him. I tell you GOD is so good HE is right there coaching us along as long as we pay attention to what HE is saying to us currently. I love GOD soo much!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we are empty, we can't love anyone. First, we must make sure that we have a relationship with GOd our Father by talking to Him and telling Him that we recognize our sinful condition;letting Him know that we know we are(Romans 3:23) empty, alone, helpless to be anything but sinful and ugly. We must let God know that we accept His Gift of salvation(Romans 6:23) that He offers us because His Son, Jesus, died on the cross and paid the price(that God requires) for our sin so we don't have to pay for our own sin. Then we can be filled with God's love by spending time in His Presence and in His Word. We must be thinking on His Word and letting Him thru His Holy Spirit fill us with His love. Don't be a better version of yourself, Becky, be a NEW person in Christ. Perhaps you do have that relationship with God. Just when we sin we must confess as it says in 1John 1:9. If we confess our ugly deeds then, He will forgive & clean us and fill us with His Holy Spirit. Just think of your heart as a garbage can when it is filled with sin. Humbling yourself and confessing our sin is like a vacuum sucking out the gunk. We are washed clean by Jesus blood and then GOd the Holy Spirit fills us with Himself and we can love because we know we are loved and accepted by God. This flows over to our closest relationships. May GOd bless you, Becky and fill you with His Love.

Anonymous Krystal said...

Wow, God works in truly mysterious ways. Yesterday I had finally became so fed up with my husband and our money issues that I was done with it and was going to leave. I have recently given up a lot of stuff to God that I needed to let go, but there was just one more thing that I didn't even realize I was holding on to. Mistrusting my husband with finances and feeling like I can take care of myself better than God or my husband can. Last night my father in law played intermediator for my husband and I so we could work this out. And then I ran into this page. I completely forgot about Proverbs 31 and at that moment I realized what I was supposed to do. I was supposed to submit to my husband completely. I wasn't being the wife I should be to him. I say God works in mysterious ways because only God could make it happen to where I would happen upon this particular website at a crucial time and work in my heart.
God bless you. You are doing a good thing here.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now I really understand why the Bible says the temptation we face is common to all. That could have been a description of me on my down moments. I'm just grateful that through God's help I am able to step out of the situation and see the ugliness of my fleshly whines and selfishness.May God deliver His women from evil and bring us into His Kingdom.

Blogger My history... said...

Thank you for posting this article! It's exactly what I needed for today. I need the Lord to change me. Today, I am surrendering my marriage to Him!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I gave my heart to Jesus at 8 years old and was baptized at 12. But getting married and having kids has shown me how far I still fall short of His glory. I have realized "I" can't do it my effort just makes me more bitter I have to surrender to God's Spirit and trust him to do what I can't do. When I would tell God to take control of my life and guide me by His Spirit I would feel fear. "What if He askes me do to something I don't want to do" and I would feel that because of that fear I wans't being honest with him and didn't really mean what I said finaly in desperation I have told Him "Take me with my fear maybe this is something I can't give up on my own But I want to be with you even if I am afraid." I guess what I'm saying is that trying only leads me to defeat surendering is my only hope of transformation and sometimes I guess most of the time we do it scared. The good news is God can handle both our ugliness and our fear and he gives us the Holy Spirit the one the diciples were not supposed to leave Jerusalem with out. we need Him as much as they did.

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