The Egg Toss: Giving Your Spouse the Freedom to be Candid
I scrutinize each question and mark the corresponding response on the answer sheet. My mind fills with crushing possibilities. “What if?” Would a response surface to raise the red flag? You know the one that shouts loudly “Don’t marry her.”
Could this premarital evaluation uncover the truths of the old me? Will I be found to be a fake? Have I changed enough? Am I good enough?” I want to believe I’ve been made new. My life in Christ shapes the hope to finally have the family my soul desperately longs for.
I try to go about my life normally, anxious for the results to sound the, “All clear.” We get the call. The pastor points out an obvious and glaring inconsistency. Your differing communication styles could cause problems. Angrily, I think, “Could? Or will!” We proceed with the marriage only to find out quickly, yes, the answer is “will.”
Truthfully, I entered the game with less than stellar skills in effective communication. But, this time, as I stand up to bat, I possess something different, a heart stimulated by a new mindset to value the needs of others, especially my spouse, more than my own interests (Philippians 2:1-5). This conviction is born out of Christ’s love for me.
The same pastor that cautioned us about our differing communication skills told us to value the tenderness of each other’s hearts. Our spouse is a gift from God. The natural inclination of man, my natural inclination, is bent toward self-centeredness: I insist on being right, I want my needs met first, I believe my opinions are more valid.
But, in Christ, I have been given the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). Do you remember the traditional picnic game, the egg toss? Now imagine that the egg is a thought or feeling being tossed in goodwill to another in the hope they will carefully catch it, unbroken. With humility, I toss the egg gently. I stand alert making every effort to catch my husband’s egg. Separated or distant from grace, I’m certain to chuck a rotten egg. We must choose to willingly and decisively set-aside the rotten eggs.
The disgusting thing about rotten eggs is that any time we choose to toss one, our carnal desire is for it to crack open and cover our spouse with a paralyzing stench. We want to hijack the argument so that we can gain control. Truthfully, all we’ve done is create a rotten, smelly mess that has to be cleaned up. As we endeavor to faithfully and gracefully catch our spouses “eggs” (even the ones that are poorly tossed) we help create the safe zone for communication that belongs in a grace-filled marriage.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen—Ephesians 4:29.
Hearts are fragile like eggs. We have to hold each other’s hearts in high regard, especially when communicating sensitive feedback on difficult topics like finances, sex, and parenting.
“Candor is like the game of catch… catch requires cooperation and a desire of each person to help the other person succeed. In a grace-filled marriage, spouses know they can vocalize their deep troubles or concerns graciously, and they are equally committed when they are the recipient to take the words to heart …God designed our marriages to be a safe place to work through our personal junk. Whether we’re giving or receiving, if we’re willing to let the love that saved us from our sin be the love that guides us on our way, we can serve each other’s best interests without turning these rough adjustments into warzones”—Dr. Tim Kimmel, Grace Filled Marriage.
I have come to learn that marriage bound together by God’s grace grows in unity and love and those operating apart from grace often smell of rotten eggs.
Written by Edy Sutherland