But what about when your spouse comes to you with scalpel in hand? That’s probably even more challenging. Are you ready for that moment?
One way to help your spouse in this process (especially if they err on the fear of (wo)man side!) is to proactively give permission to ask diagnostic questions and cut when necessary.
Marriages grow sour when spouses engage in surgery casually, carelessly, or without the informed consent of the patient. But marriage becomes sweet when spouses, recognizing that each one will probably need corrective surgery from time to time, give one another permission to wield the scalpel as needed. (123)
Have you/will you give your spouse permission?
Why not ask your spouse if there are any sinful patterns in your life that they have noticed? And be prepared to LISTEN. Don’t immediately get defensive if they answer your question.
If you think what you hear is exaggerated or you are tempted to defend yourself…listen, absorb, process, pray (remember: suspect yourself and inspect yourself). Thank your spouse for his/her courage and willingness to help you see your sin. Harvey makes a great point when he says that we should want correction, not just tolerate it (124).
Give my spouse permission to confront or correct me? Are you kidding? Have you ever heard of, "Give an inch...?!"
Allow me to give just three reasons (these are really worth chewing on!):
- Psalm 141:5 Let a righteous man strike me- it is a kindness; let him rebuke me- it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it.
- Proverbs 15:31-32 The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.
- Proverbs 27:5-6 Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
Spiritual surgery is a ministry we need to prepare to give…and receive.