Games People Play

“If anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things.”  
Philippians 4:8

Have you ever been to a party and watched someone play “Assassinate the Spouse?” The objective is simple: A contestant attempts to punish his mate by ridiculing her in front of their friends. If he wants to be especially vicious, he lets the guests know he thinks she is dumb and ugly. It’s a brutal game with no winners. The contest ends when his wife is totally divested of self‐respect and dignity; he gets bonus points if he can reduce her to tears.

Sound cruel? It is, even when it’s carried out under the guise of joking or teasing. It’s never enjoyable to watch someone take out anger against his (or her) mate in this way. In contrast, what a pleasure it is to spend time with couples who continually build each other up in front of others. When a husband tells his guests about his wife’s incredible cook‐ing, patience with the kids, or promotion at work—or the wife boasts about her husband’s talent on the job or his ability to speak in public or fix broken pipes—you’ll see the other spouse smile a bit more brightly and stand a little taller. We’re always most sensitive to the comments of our mate in the presence of our peers.

The next time you’re out with friends, remember to look for opportunities to honor your mate. Leave the game playing to others.

Just between us . . .

• Have I embarrassed or hurt you in public? If so, can we talk about it?
• How do you feel when I praise you in front of our friends?
• In what ways could we build each other up in public?

Father, we want to show each other love, honor, and consideration always— but especially in front of others. Forgive us for our failures. Give us grace to learn and change, we pray. Amen.

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This devotional is taken from Night Light for Couples. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.