Have you ever heard the expression, pick your battles? Great truth resides within that statement and it is what God is trying to teach us in Eph 5:21. Husbands and wives are instructed: “Submit yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” People usually misunderstand this word submit perceiving it as if it’s talking about turning yourself over to be dominated by someone. This verse is really teaching us that as husbands and wives, we need to learn “to adapt” to each other with whole-hearted respect out of love and reverence to each other and to God.
Let me share some of Renee’s and my “adapting.” When Renee gets into bed at night, she does not go to sleep until after she has spent a fair amount of time reading. We’ll pray together and then she’ll usually reads until she literally drops her book and passes out. She reads because she loves to read, but also to mentally disconnect from a busy mind. Because I fall asleep quickly and she likes to read, we’ve adapted how we go to bed so that it works perfectly for us. This is the process of respecting and adapting to each other.
When Renee wakes up in the morning, the wheels of her mind begin to turn immediately. It actually helps her wake up. She gets up, puts on the coffee, and heads off to pray. She puts the thoughts of the pending day aside and instead focuses on the Word, prayer, and often journaling her thoughts from the Lord.
When I wake up I am either immediately praying in tongues, or creating a melody and song of worship to the Lord. It was something I purposed to learn to do many years ago that has become instinctive for me today. I do this while I am getting showered and ready for my day. I then head off to my place of prayer and spend my quiet time with the Lord. It’s from there I write Fresh Manna. We each love our separate morning routine and have adapted to giving each other space for it. We get face time with each other after and then it’s off to work. When our children were younger our routine was completely different, but still with respect to the needs of each other.
Renee likes me to put my shoes in the closet. I’ve adapted. I ask her not to hang her purse on our closet door handle. She’d adapted. She doesn’t want me shaking my hands after I wash them because I splash the mirror. She wants me to use the hand towel. I’ve adapted. I ask her to keep her cell phone on and answer it when I call so I can get a hold of her. She’s working on that! I could go on and on but here’s the point: we try to understand what makes the other tick and adapt so that we help each other succeed—not work against each other.
God tells us to submit or adapt to each other in the context of instructing men and women how to love each other. God does not expect anyone to adapt to rudeness, disrespect, or slothful habits, but we all have our little idiosyncrasies. We’ve even lovingly adapted to those for each other. Adapting, loving, and appreciating each other makes those little idiosyncrasies more tolerable and defuses many potential battles that Satan would like to create. Learning to adapt because you love your spouse and making changes to bless them is the execution of love. Do it and you will find much more love and joy in your lives. You will also find that you have rid yourself of a multitude of stupid and insignificant battles forever! Hallelujah! Oh yes, and one more thing: you’ll find that this principle works with everyone—not just your spouse!
1 Corinthians 10:33 “I, too, try to adapt to everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.”
In His love,
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.