4. You are unfair when you fail to do what you require of your mate. Many times people have confessed to me what goes though their minds when issues are not being resolved in their relationships. They think to themselves, If he (or she) is not going to be loving or giving, then I won’t either. Can’t you see how completely unfair you are in assuming this posture? You are doing exactly what you are condemning in your spouse.
How should you respond when your spouse doesn’t behave correctly? Paul declares, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:31-32). Notice the sinful reactions listed here. Be assured, behaving in this manner is not how God desires you to respond. He intends you to behave in a manner that is directly opposite. He wants you to be kind and tenderhearted. In other words, you must do what you want your spouse to do toward you. This is the point of the Golden Rule: “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (Matt. 7:12). In addition this is what it means to “overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21). Are you doing this?
It’s ludicrous for you to demand that your spouse be loving, sensitive, and romantic when you are harsh and condemning. Can’t you realize the contradiction of this expectation? The most important word in Ephesians 4:32 is the word Be. You must focus your attention on being the person God wants you to become. Be kind. Be tender. Be forgiving. This kind of behavior will always give you the spirit of fairness necessary to go through the hard times. However, attaining these qualities does not mean that you can’t speak to your mate about his or her deficiencies, it merely gives you instruction about the correct heart attitude necessary to be successful when you speak.
5. You are unfair when you fail to respond equally. If you are reading this newsletter and you are resistant to reconciliation, you must recognize that your behavior is very unfair to your mate. Your spouse is demonstrating the desire to reconcile and you are fighting it. I know you are probably thinking right now, But you don’t know how much I’ve been hurt. You have probably been very hurt, but don’t let your pride keep you from responding in an equal manner. If your spouse takes a step toward reconciliation, shouldn’t you do the same? If you continue to resist and harden yourself in your position, I can assure you that nothing will change for the better in your marriage. In fact, it will surely get worse.
Remember where we started this article? We looked at the charge that the people of God were making concerning the fairness of God in His dealings with them. They believed God was behaving unfairly toward them. How did God respond? He reminded them, “…is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?” (Ezekiel 18:29). What did God mean by this statement? He was the one who reached out to love and continually sought reconciliation with them. But, their response was to only make further charges. The people resisted His attempts and they walked away. The Father counted this as extremely unfair.
If all you can do is find fault and charge your spouse when he or she is seeking reconciliation, aren’t you too behaving unfairly? Just as the people of God failed to respond with equal love and willingness, you are failing to respond to your mate’s outstretched hand. Remember, it doesn’t require a lot of effort to shoot the darts of accusation and condemnation at your partner’s confession and repentance. However, it does require great effort to examine yourself and humbly confess your personal faults to your mate. Won’t you respond with equal effort? This would be fair, and it would give you a fair chance at healing your relationship. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!