We were married for all of two days. My dreamy husband and I were off to play a fun game of tennis in the wonderful sunshine of Maui, Hawaii. I didn’t know how to play tennis, in fact, I didn’t even know how to keep score, yet, I owned a racket because I thought the sport would be fun. Seeing how I had spent years playing volleyball, I felt I could pick up the game pretty quick and I thought I would be rather good at it. Little did I know that I would be dead wrong about my athletic ability!
My man on the other hand, he knew how to play. He was good at it and he smoked me in the game. I became so frustrated and angry that I threw my racket! Yep, I did! Although, I didn’t throw it at him, I threw it nonetheless! This sweet, new, Christian bride threw it because I was so mad that I lost. Can you say, “poor loser”!
Protection Against a Divisive Spirit
We quickly learned that it was not best for our relationship to compete against each other, and over the course of our 14 years of marriage, we have not. Not even in board games! Because I like to win at those too! I even have a son when he was very young, chuck the board game across the room when he would lose. Hmmm, I wonder where he got that trait from? But the Bible tells us that one of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control, so you’d think that I, being a Christian woman, might have been able to maintain some and have a little dignity as well. Yay, well, that was not the case on the court that day!
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Galatians 5:22,23
My Beloved loves to compete as well, and of course when he competes he wants to win too; who doesn’t! But we made a choice that our marriage, our unity/oneness, was more important than either of us beating the other person in some silly game no matter how much we liked the sport.
However, after 14 years of marriage, we decided to play tennis the other day. But this time was going to be different because we were going to play as a family. We thought it was a good activity that all of us could do together seeing how my bad knees and hip can’t handle doing many things.
Afterwards, husband and wife took to the court for a more rigorous workout. I fully felt that I could handle playing, because after all, the Lord has fed me some humble pie for the last 14 years with all the long-suffering that I have been through. I was much more controlled and I had a lot more gentleness. I now had at least a few of the fruits of the Spirit under my belt! It was okay if I didn’t win, I was just happy for the opportunity to play. Or so I thought!
Even though my Beloved lowered his playing ability, I was still poor at my game and he could see the frustration on my face and the smoke coming out of my ears. But this time I didn’t throw my racket!
He walked over to my side of the court and put his arm around me and said, “Is this a good idea?” “Do you think we should continue playing?”
“I’m fine!” I said. I really wasn’t fine, I was bent out of shape because I was losing!
Competing Against Each Other Does Not Breed Unity
Well, the next time we played, we didn’t keep score (smile) because our relationship is more important than who wins a tennis match!
So do you ever find yourself competing in any way with your husband? If you do, ask yourself if it is hindering your oneness; the unity in your marriage. A friendly game of competition here and there may be a little thing, but over time it could seep into other areas and become a big wedge in your marriage, slowly putting you at odds with your man. The Lord wants the husband and wife joined and united, not just in the big things but the little things as well.
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Ephesians 5:31
Maybe you’re not so big on the competition thing, but your man is and perhaps he is likely to throw his racket! Or quite possibly you love to compete like I do. I understand your viewpoint, friend! Here’s some tips below to help you.
3 Ways to Strengthen Your Oneness
- Whatever game it is, instead of trying to compete and beat him, be on the same team. This will help you guard your tongue from snide and sarcastic jabs that you may say to one another. (And it will help keep you from throwing your racket in case you happen to be playing tennis!)
- Encourage him while playing. You will be building him up rather than tearing him down.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. Proverbs 31:26
- Don’t keep score if you are on opposing sides. You’re objective is not to win but to stay united and have fun.
A Song of Ascents. Of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalm 133:1A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones. Proverbs 17:22
Competing can be lots of fun, but someone always loses. This issue could seem petty, but what the Lord wants is for us as brothers and sisters (husband and wife) to be united with no division amongst us. These few and seemingly insignificant things listed above will fortify your marriage and protect it from the sly, little, undermining thistles that opposing, competing, and contending with one another can bring. I encourage you to be proactive in bolstering your oneness because when you are faced with bigger issues, you’ll have a tighter bond. Don’t leave even a small crack in your relationship because Satan will do his best to get in there and tear the two of you apart.
How about you? Do you struggle with selfish ambition as you compete and contend with your husband? What do you do to combat your divisive spirit?
Live a poured out life for Christ,