What Should I Do?

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What steps can you take to be certain you utilize your spouse's wisdom when you have need?

Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established. Proverbs 15:22

Anyone could see that Terry had a lot of problems. She was married to a non-Christian. She and her husband had three children she stayed at home to care for, and they also had financial problems.

Terry asked my advice, and I (Teresa) was more than willing to make suggestions for her spiritual growth. But it often felt like my coun­sel had little effect. It seemed that Terry did more complaining than putting my counsel into prac­tice. After weeks of hearing about the constant tur­moil, I became concerned and frustrated by her lack of progress.

I took the situation to David for his thoughts during one of our "marriage staff meetings.” After listening patiently, he said something I wasn't quite ready for: "It seems like you may be trying to fix her?" He explained that Terry was like someone dying of thirst—she wanted immediate relief but had no idea how to bring lasting solutions to her problems.

I suddenly realized that my efforts to help Terry were focused more on what I wanted to offer than on what she needed. My husband's objective and kind counsel showed me that I should meet Terry's needs rather than force my agenda on her. Terry's constantly returning for more advice, which she never took, was simply a message to me that she had deeper needs that God might want to involve me in meeting. I challenged Terry about being so fear-driven and prayed with her that God's perfect love would remove the fear. Instead of constant advice giving, I reflected back to Terry the ques­tions she was asking, along with ideas she had. She beamed with joy when I affirmed her for some great ideas.

With David's advice, Terry and I are both doing better.

What steps can you take to be certain you utilize your spouse's wisdom when you have need?

God, help me seek out counsel from others, including my spouse, so that my efforts to serve You succeed.

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