Thursday, July 19, 2012

What Measuring Stick Are You Using?

A number of years ago, Gary and I counseled a couple who, after thirty plus years, were struggling in their marriage.  The husband was a very patriarchal sort and the wife was becoming a bit too independent and “sassy” for his comfort.

It didn’t take long to discover that this man was not only verbally and emotionally abusive to his wife; he was physically and sexually abusive, as well.  While he believed that he was simply fulfilling his God-given role, his wife and children were afraid of him.  Even his large frame, towering stature and domineering demeanor were quite intimidating.

Having been raised in a very male-oriented religious environment, this fella wasn’t too excited about having anyone tell him how he ought to function, especially a woman.  Consequently, in the initial days of our counseling them, I was very careful to not cross that line.  I didn’t want to lose the opportunity to help them by moving across his comfort zone too quickly.

We had been counseling this couple for a few months when the husband made this comment, “Well, at least I treat her better than my dad treated my mom.”  I knew in my heart what I needed to say, but was hesitant because I knew it would make him angry.  The Lord prompted me, “Say it now.”  I swallowed hard, looked “goliath” in the eyes and said, “Your measuring stick is wrong.”  He glared at me and retorted, “What do you mean by that?”  I responded, “Jesus Christ should be your measuring stick for how to treat your wife, not your dad.”  His eyes moved away from mine in silence.

It isn’t uncommon for us to use others as our point of reference for how we approach life,

“At least I’ve never done that!”
“I wish I could be more like her.”
That’s the way my parents and grandparents always did it.”

The reality is…

We are all imitating someone.
No one is an originator!

However, God’s Word warns us to be careful of whom we imitate; Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God (3 John 1:11).

We are to be imitators of God as dear children.  And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us…(Ephesians 5:1-2).

What measuring stick are you using?


P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at:  You may also contact me at:
             Bonnie Jaeckle
             In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
             Diagonal Progress
             505 Jefferson St.
             Diagonal, IA 50845


  1. "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the MEASURE of the stature of the fullness of Christ"
    [Ephesians 4:13]
    With hope that the couple is doing better since the revelation of their true measure in Christ.

  2. Good verse! Actually a few yrs ago I received a note from the wife thanking us for helping them and said, "Our daughter commented the other day, "I don't know what happened to you two, but you act like a couple of love birds and I love it!" Isn't God wonderful! Thanks for your comment!