Annisa Swanson is joining us this morning (Again. Just because we love each other so much.) from annisaswanson.com to chat about honor. Annisa is legit because she has cool hair and wrote a book, Faith, Fat, and Other F-Words, that has FIVE STARS on Amazon. If you missed Annisa’s first go-round here, you might want to check out her thoughts on patience and kindness.
When Jordan so kindly invited guest writers to join in her mission for marriages, I thought, No problem! I’d be glad to help a sister out, build up others and speak to the heart of marriage. I jumped on the first topic [Love is Patient & Kind] quickly and thought it was an okay post. So, when she needed to fill a gap in the series, I quickly responded: I got this!
Truth be told, this one was really stinkin’ hard! Writing about honor and dishonor within a marriage is a very ambiguous thing to discuss. It’s so abstract in concept. But God thumped me on the head and I decided to tune in to what God would have me write, what He was convicting me of in my own life and where I was needing a lot of work.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I feel quite qualified to speak on marriage because my first one failed miserably. Yes, we had moments that weren’t so bad, but we didn’t do the work to build it with a faith-foundation. We weren’t really a WE. The weight of words spoken tore us down in spirit and left us both very weary. Those unkind words get planted in a place in your soul that leaves such a burn mark that no matter how many sweet-nothings are said, the burn mark remains.
So, while I may be preaching to myself, here’s the real truth about dishonor y’all, the gritty stuff of everyday, real life, life together —
One of the greatest weapons we all possess is our words. We can either use them to build up or tear down. We have to be so careful with what we speak over each other (and to ourselves).
Hurtful phrases often begin with two words: “You never…” or “You always…” or “You are…“. Hearing those declarations made about you long enough, one begins to believe… “I always” and “I am”. When you find yourself defeated, you give up — on yourself, each other, and your marriage.
Instead of words of dishonor (Like, “You never help me with anything around this house.”), speak gratefulness: “Thank you for working so hard for our family.” When you find yourself frustrated with the kids flying like monkeys in someone else’s circus and are ready to explode, speak blessings: “We are a blessed family to have a home with healthy children.”
Speak words of honor over yourself and your family.
Standing at my stove, frustrated about who knows what, I’m attending to the five star meal I’m preparing for dinner. (Just kidding, I am likely throwing something together last minute.) BUT. I have a system of how and when to turn these pork-chops. I am mentally timing and plotting their process. Hubby joins me in the kitchen, and my attention turns to the dishes in the sink. And then….. HE TURNS THE PORK-CHOPS!!! Are you kidding me!!?? I am freaking out behind him with every angry gesture and utterance under my breath.
But my hubby is showing me that he wants to be helpful. He wants to partner with me in this task. Yes, I have a certain way I do things. But it’s not the only way.
What he is showing me in his partnering, is honor. What I’ve just done, in my manic-thrashing-angry dance behind his back, is dishonor.
While it is vital to have friendships and confidences besides your spouse, we must honor our spouse in those friendships as well. Yes, we get frustrated. Yes, we need to vent. But it is so crucial to not let your words and actions bring dishonor to your spouse.
In the same way we are cautious of the words spoken TO our spouse, we have to protect the things spoken ABOUT our spouse.
Like the old adage “a listening ear also has a running mouth” warns, gossip will cause a breakdown in an already weakened situation. Choose your friendships carefully and what you share with those friends even more carefully.
The eye-roll as the partner walks away speaks more about you than it does about them. Yes, I know it’s hard not to roll your eyes when they have spilled something on the front of their shirt and you know it’s never coming out. Or when they’ve called someone the wrong name twice. It is so difficult to not correct them. [This one is a DOOZY for me!]
In those times that you really need to vent, take it to prayer. Get out of your own way and seek God’s wisdom. Seek His peace.
I’m really frustrated here.
I’m unsure of my feelings and know that you will lead me.
It is my heart to honor You.
Show me the ways that I can better honor my spouse.
I know that in honoring them, I will also show You honor.
Thank you for placing them in my life.
Thank you for giving me a partner in this journey.
I know You love me unconditionally.
Help me to better understand what that looks like in my marriage.
I trust You.
I love You.
Jesus, You lead, we will follow.
Annisa Swanson lives in Northern Illinois with her incredibly supportive husband. Together, they build a life on chaos and coffee, tattoos and teamwork, life experience and life yet to be experienced.
Annisa is the author of the heartfelt and truth-spilling book, Faith, Fat and Other F-Words. She is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and The Mighty. She writes with candor and wit about real life and living with mental health issues, sexual abuse and chronic illness.