October 14, 2013

Why Killing Spiders Makes My Marriage Better

Gary Thomas — 

When the spider dropped in front of me, I killed it.

Part of me hates doing this.

Spiders don’t hurt anyone. In fact, they serve a good purpose—they kill other insects.

Personally, I have nothing against spiders.

But they can make webs. And they bother Lisa. She hates them.

So I kill them.

Because I’m married to Lisa, I’ve made a prior commitment that her feelings outweigh mine on a lot of matters, and spiders are one of them.

I don’t re-think this every time I see a new spider; because of Lisa, because I’m married to her, it’s already decided: if I see a spider in the house, I kill it so she doesn’t have to.

If Lisa’s dad had been an alcoholic (he certainly wasn’t), I’d kill all alcohol use in my life. I don’t have a “theological” problem with alcohol, but that wouldn’t matter; out of love for Lisa, if she was “sore” toward the potential devastation of alcohol abuse, I wouldn’t want her to worry. I’d just kill alcohol use and avoid it altogether.

If Lisa and I were on our second marriages and Lisa’s first marriage had been destroyed by excessive video game playing, I’d kill that too. I’d just think, “She’s going to be especially sensitive to that. Every time I pick up a joystick, it’s going to resurrect a lot of bad feelings from her past. Rather than ask her to ‘reset’ those deep-seated anxieties, I think it’s best if I just kill that part of my life.”

The pursuit of marital intimacy requires agreeing to kill certain “spiders” that bug our spouse, just because they bug our spouse.

These spiders may not be prohibited by Scripture. They may not be inherently wrong. But if they cause our spouse pain, that’s good enough reason to kill them.

Do you know what your husband’s or wife’s “spiders” are? When you find them, do the loving thing: hunt them down and kill them.

A question to lead off the discussion: of course it’s possible to take this too far, so how can we discern a spider that should be killed and a spider our spouse is just going to have to learn to live with?

[photo: Creative Commons, www.FranceHouseHunt.com]

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3 responses to Why Killing Spiders Makes My Marriage Better

  1. Well the spiders are small and harmless. They’re not really a big deal.
    You are not really hurt by giving up video games. I’ve given them up for my education, so if my spouse was hurt by me playing, I would give them up for him too.

    Giving up your family and friends is not a small thing. It’s not some small hobby or a beverage that you can easily do without. If your spouse wants you to cut of family contact, there had better be a very good reason. Like your mom mentally abusing you or him. Or if he wants you to cut your friends of, it would be reasonable if they were tempting you do fall back into an old sinful lifestyle. Or if you had a previous affair with one of them. Or one of them is a serial adulterer and is clearly flirting with you. That’s not a spider, that’s a python. Or a fire.

  2. I agree that ‘of course it’s possible to take this too far, so how can we discern a spider that should be killed and a spider our spouse is just going to have to learn to live with?’

    Gary what are ur thots on this? There are those for eg. who want their spouses to ‘not keep in touch with family’ or have them come stay with them or ‘keep in contact with their own friends’. It’s gets to the point of abuse or control. This may stem From paranoia. These don’t seem like spiders that need to be killed.

  3. I know that this is serious. I’m sure it’s great advice for couples. It also made me laugh. An effective and interesting way to express your idea. I’m not married, but if I were, it would be nice if my husband would do, or help with, certain chores (ex, dusting, sweeping) that trigger my allergy & breathing problems).

    Personally, I like spiders and most other pests. I despise centipedes, and have no trouble killing them (those wiggly, striped, soft bodied, multi-legged things that mostly hunt at night — not those interesting, dark-colored creatures with a hard exoskeleton that tend to be outside in dirt). P.S. gardening is a great way to get used to insects. It helped me overcome my longtime fear of bees, which I had as a result of severe allergic reactions to stings in childhood.