Deference to Another's Agenda
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3, NIV
For years, I didn't understand that Teresa's childhood was often lonely, that as a girl she often felt that her needs and her desires were forgotten. Teresa grew up in a family of six children, and three of those brothers and sisters were deaf. Of course, the deaf kids received a great deal of attention in the household. Who gave Teresa's needs priority? Who would defer to her wishes and desires? The usual answer was, "No one."
Although Teresa understood the importance of caring for her brothers and sisters, it still hurt her to so often go unnoticed.
I didn't realize it when we first married, but God wanted me to play a "deferring role" in Teresa's life. She needed me to look out for her interests, because no one else had done that. She needed me to regard her as more important than myself.
Deferring to Teresa meant letting her pick the restaurant or the movie or saying things to her such as, "Sweetheart, we have this Saturday free, so how would you like to spend it?" or "Teresa, I read about a celebrity event in the paper. Would you like to go?"
It took initiative on my part to take the effort—as small as it might have been—to consider what was important to Teresa. But I've loved seeing the joy in my wife's eyes as I show her that her needs matter to me. It's a blessing to see her confidence rise and security grow as she realizes how important her interests are to me.
Each time I defer to Teresa, I am struck with gratitude for having the opportunity to help heal wounds from her past.
What do you think deferring to your spouse's needs and desires should look like and sound like?
Thank You, Father, for helping me expand my role as "provider." Help me show my spouse that I consider his or her needs more important than my own.
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