“Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant—I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you” (Psalm 73:21-22 NLT).

I am a sinner, a brute beast with an oft-embittered heart. This is what it usually looks like. When I listen to the Lord he saves me from myself.

As we hosted a large gathering several years ago, I felt my husband wasn’t helping enough. Was I the family slave? I know the Master modeled service, but is this what he meant? My considerations grew petty, and they crept up on me slowly.

Tabulating deeds done, I quit letting go of minor irritations. I kept track. As resentment festered, I mulled over offenses, but I remained outwardly pleasant. Jesus helped. I begged for his assistance and grabbed his offered hand; but still, I allowed my mind to return to its dark ruminations. My sin increased.

As the last car drove away, I felt completely depleted. At the top of my to-do list was a grand-scale discussion (argument) with my husband about that festering list.

Asking him to join me, I grabbed the portable iPod player and cast the backyard blanket broad under our shady tree. Before he arrived, I started the music, lay back in the shade, and stared at the brilliant blue sky peeking between the branches.

As I awaited the upcoming clash, the above soundtrack washed across my prone body and agitated mind.

After more than three decades of marriage, we are cognizant that our besetting sins will trip us up until we see Christ face to face. Year by year, day by day, each of us makes minute progress, driven by our increasing awareness of our inability, our growing love for the Savior, and our desire to obey him.

But our weaknesses are the black holes around which our disagreements revolve, the same disputes engaged in and forgiven repeatedly when we get sucked in. Teetering on the edge, I prepared to take a swan dive into the black, dragging him in behind me.

Oblivious to the dark senselessness in my heart (poor man), he lay down on the blanket and reached for my hand, lacing his fingers through mine and giving a contented, happy sigh. With hearts divergent, we lay side by side contemplating the sky, listening to the music.

The Holy Spirit is gentle yet powerful. We belong to him, and he guides us. The music contained biblical truth about the Savior. This truth cleansed my soul.

I pivoted, turning away from the black hole. There would be no argument as we rested with hands interlaced. Multiples times my husband had graciously overlooked my myriad blunders. There was no need to rehash his offenses.

I began singing my praise out loud, and my husband’s minor offenses faded away. I let them go. My heart filled with love and gratitude as I praised Jesus for who he is. Love for my husband swelled in my heart as I considered our long road and our mutual love for the Savior.

Without Christ, these two teenagers-now-grown-to-middle-age wouldn’t still be married. Being nice is requisite for lifelong marriage, so is willingness to serve one another and to overlook transgressions. In our own strength, we can’t do any of that.

We need Christ desperately. So do you.

“Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak; but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever” (Psalm 73:25-26 NLT).