By Keren Kanyago, Crosswalk.com
"I have had enough of her recklessness; I need to give her a piece of my mind," Stacy muttered under her breath. She loved spending time with her nieces, but she was running late for her meeting with a potential client. Amy, her sister-in-law, had called the previous day and requested her to keep an eye on her kids as she ran some morning errands. Stacy had informed her about her critical afternoon meeting, but she had promised to be back in time.
It was half an hour to Stacy's meeting, and Amy's phone was off. Stacy was beside herself with fury. She dialed her brother's number in a huff, eager to tell him how his wife had ruined her day. "I am awfully sorry about that, Stacy. I am sure Amy is stuck somewhere against her will. Let me come and pick the kids right away." Her brother replied tenderly. "Come on, dude, why do you always defend her even when she is wrong?" Stacy retorted.
Sticking up for your spouse when the world is closing in on them is one of the best gifts you can offer them. Here's a fact - getting married is a huge blessing. It gives you an ally, someone who will be by your side through the varying seasons of life. A buddy who will have your back when everyone else steps away. The Bible states that two are better than one, for if one of them falls, the other will lift them up (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
Which begs the question - How do you treat your spouse? Do you lift them up when they fall? Are you proud of them? Do you stick up for them when they face opposition, or do you stand on the sidelines? This article will show you how to go the whole nine yards for your spouse and then some.
Why You Need to Stick Up for Your Spouse
"And said, 'For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." Mathew 19:5-6
One of the most important principles of marriage is that two individuals become one. Couples who base their lives on this truth have fewer battles. Think of it this way, would you allow someone to chop off your little toe? We are certain you would defend that little measly toe with all you've got. That's because it is part of your body, and having it dislodged would cause untold pain to your entire body. In the same way, your spouse is part of you. When they are attacked, you should (naturally) feel attacked.
When God looks at married folk, He doesn't see two entities but one. Even the world expects you to present a united front in your marriage. Discord and lack of unity in a couple is an eyesore because the two are no longer two but one. That's why you need to stick up for your spouse with every iota of your strength.
How to Stick Up for Your Spouse
1. Give Them Your Loyalty
Loyalty is the act of being fully committed to someone, giving them your allegiance, top priority, and support. Your spouse deserves your loyalty. It tells them that you value and respect them. It assures them that you are content being married to them and that there's nothing anyone can say or do to shift your allegiance from them. In marriage, your loyalty to your spouse will be tested. For instance, let's say you had planned to rush off with your spouse for a vacation during the Christmas break. You would travel to the cozy island you spent your honeymoon. Both of you are exhilarated at the prospect; you can't wait to relive the memories of when you first got married.
But. Your family has a different plan. Your brother is offering to host the entire family in his new home by the beach for Christmas. Everyone in the family is delighted about that. When you tell them about your plan, they go up in arms, vehemently trying to dissuade you. What do you do? Do you trash the plans you had with your spouse, or do you stick up for them? Unless both of you agree that your vacation can wait, be loyal to your spouse and stand up for them.
2. Defend Them
To defend someone is to take action against whoever is attacking them. We recently saw Will Smith defend his wife Jada (in a rather dramatic way). He slapped comedian Chris Rock who had made a distasteful joke about his wife's hair. And although the use of physical violence and verbal insults is not the right way to defend your spouse, Will had made his point clear. You had to contend with him before getting to his wife.
Which begs the question- What do you do when someone disrespects or talks ill of your spouse? Do you keep quiet, or do you stand up for them? Do not allow people to mishandle your spouse if it's within your power to stop them. Speak up and let them know that you and your mate are a team. When they attack them, they are inadvertently attacking you.
3. Correct Your Spouse in Private
Let's face it, It's not pleasant to have friends or family correct you in public, but it's a tad bearable. You may not necessarily lose sleep over it. But how would you feel if your spouse started redirecting you in public? Now that's a real punch in the gut. Your spouse is the one person you expect to have your back at all times. It's mortifying to have them poke holes at your ideas, criticize you, make fun of you or contradict you in front of others.
If your spouse is onto something that you disagree with, wait until you are alone with them to correct them. Criticizing your spouse publicly tells the world that you do not value them. It also shows that you are not one with your partner.
4. Be Present Physically
Let's say you and your spouse are attending a friend's wedding or any other social event. While there, you spot your childhood friend whom you haven't met in a decade. Should you leave your spouse sitting by themselves and spend the rest of the day chatting with your "long-lost friend?" You need to be present physically for your spouse to be able to stick up for them in the first place. Besides, when people sense that you are a team, they are less likely to launch an attack on either of you.
5. Love Them Sacrificially
Marriage calls for sacrificial love, the type of love that Christ has for his bride - the church. Sacrificial love enables you to put your spouse's needs above your own. It inspires you to forgive them easily and serve them even when you think they don't deserve it. In Scripture, the husband is called to love his wife in the same way that Christ loved the church.
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish." (Ephesians 5:25).
When spouses devote themselves to each other with this kind of love, sticking up for each other will be as easy as ABC. When you love your spouse like Christ loved the church, you can take a bullet for them. Literally.
Keren Kanyago is a freelance writer and blogger at Parenting Spring. As a wife and mom, she uses her blog to weigh in on pertinent issues around parenting, marriage, and the Christian Faith. She holds a degree in mass communication with a specialty in print media. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram and/or shoot her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.