As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. (Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)
Sharpening is the process of creating or refining a sharp edge of appropriate shape on a tool or implement designed for cutting. It’s done by grinding away material on the tool with an abrasive substance harder than the material of the implement, followed sometimes by processes to polish the sharp surface to increase smoothness and to correct small mechanical deformations without regrinding. That is what happens when humans relate and interact (en.wikipedia.org).
Humans were made for fellowship, and what better fellowship opportunity can there be than a marriage relationship. When God created Adam, and placed him in the Garden, I’m sure they had wonderful fellowship; but God, Himself, recognized that it wasn’t enough. Adam was blessed with Eve because people need people.
The problem with people needing people is that sometimes, during their interactions, sparks fly just like when iron sharpens iron. However, it’s during those times that we should begin to help each other get rid of the dullness (insensitivity to the Holy Spirit), the imperfections (the areas we have not submitted to God), and the rust (picking up old non-fruit-bearing habits). The result should be brightness (shining forth more of the light of Jesus) and perfection (maturing in the things of God).
Trust me. You do not want to be like that dull knife you might find in your kitchen drawer. “Dull knives are more dangerous in the kitchen because they don’t bite into food as well as sharp knives, so there’s a higher chance the blade will shift or slip. In addition, blunt blades need a lot more pressure to cut, so if and when the knife slips, there’s a higher chance you’ll get hurt (simplelifesaver.com).” When we don’t allow the Holy Spirit, through our spouse, to sharpen us, our unregenerated tendencies and flaws remain on the surface and cause us to bring harm to our mate. We’re not as mindful of our words, or we are just unkind or selfish, in general. The sharpening process, though painful, is helping us develop into the image of Jesus Christ.
Isn’t it marvelous how God has put couples together to be a blessing to each other? Marriage is never about individuality. If, in our relationship, we never change to truly become one, there is no purpose in being married. We learn from each other, and we develop into better human beings as a result. I can think of so many instances where my life has improved by living with my husband. He has areas where he is stronger, and I have areas where I am stronger. I believe I shared this once before: Since I was a fairly young Christian when we wed, I wasn’t fully developed in my faith in God. I watched as Adrian met every difficult class he had with an expectation that God was going to help him. I have since learned how important faith is in every instance and circumstance of life. Adrian, along with the Holy Spirit, was my teacher. In turn, my husband has shared with me how I have taught him to be more generous and caring.
Your mate was placed in your life, not to frustrate you, but to bless you and help you become more like Christ. When the frustrations come, we should use them as opportunities to grow rather than excuses to throw in the towel.