These are some excerpts from some articles from the Focus on the Family magazine this month that struck me.

From “Handle with Care” by Joshua Straub
     The famous preacher A.W. Tozer wrote that one of the five keys to a deeper spiritual life is to never defend ourselves.  When we do, we put up emotional guards that make us hard and self-centered.  In turn, we cast blame in an attempt to protect ourselves.
     ….Because she (his wife) had given me her heart, she was emotionally vulnerable – just as I was vulnerable to her. Once we understood this reality, Christi and I began to treat each other with gentleness.  We found that gentleness did not depend on who was right, but on lowering our defenses and handling each other with care.

( I don’t know about you, but I experience this personally and see this is in the kids relationships almost daily!)

From “Pathways of Worship” by Gary Thomas
     First, instead of judging your spouse’s spiritual temperament, seek to understand and learn from him or her.    Do you really think you’ve cornered the market on understanding, knowing and loving God?  He’s an immense God, and one of the reasons He calls us to become a church is because no individual can adequately represent what it means to relate to God.
…..But here’s the key:  How we pray, how we worship, and how we study God’s Word will differ.  Just as I’ll never have my wife’s personality, I’ll also never have a quiet time quite like hers.  And that’s by God’s design.  We should celebrate and embrace our differences.  Our marriages offer us the opportunity to give a fuller response to God as a couple than we ever could as individuals.

(This was written  to married couples specifically but I see it relates to all relationships and being a part of God’s church.  Don’t we try to “figure out” and sometimes pass judgement on others because they are doing something different than we think they should?…good food for thought!)