Knowing When to Protect

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How do you know when to step in and protect your spouse and when to stand back?

Do not forsake [wisdom], and she will preserve you. Proverbs 4:6

Our two-year-old granddaughter, Madison, needs our protection often. She would stick her finger in the wall socket, fall off chairs, climb in the toilet, and play in the knife drawer if we didn't protect her from doing so. I (Teresa) like taking the role of protector when Madison is at our house.

Spouses also need each other's protection. But sometimes protecting someone can mean loving them enough to stay out of the way and let them do something painful. What they learn will help create wisdom, which works as an internal protection from future harm.

There have been times when I have had con­cerns about David's business deals or the people with whom he's made the deals. I've voiced my concerns in a loving way and then trusted David to God. David has taken my concerns, prayed about them, and then made the decision he thought best. Sometimes my concerns have been right on target, and other times it seems I was worried about nothing. But there have also been times when David wished that he had paid more attention to my wisdom. It's those business deals, though, that God has used to teach David valuable lessons—lessons I don't think he could have learned any other way.

So I will definitely keep Madison from sticking her fingers in wall sockets and playing in the knife drawer because she needs that kind of pro­tection. With David, I will step in the gap between him and danger when my doing so is really best for him. I hope he will continue to do the same for me. At other times, though, I will lovingly stay out of the way and pray that God will use the pain to help him gain wisdom.

How do you know when to step in and protect your spouse and when to stand back?

God, give me discernment so I know when to protect my spouse.

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