Marriage will ‘find you out’. I is a refining process. Before I married, I was very laid back. I hardly ever lost my temper. But in the early days, guess what? I became a ‘roaring lion!’
You cannot be rubbed up the wrong way if there are no rough edges to rub against. For two people, usually direct ‘opposites’, to live together in perfect harmony twenty-four hours a day a week, is indeed a miracle.
It is actually achievable but it takes time, patience, forbearance and understanding. Every couple needs to learn how to deal with differences and to learn the art of forgiveness, acceptance and reconciliation.
Understand the problem
In the early days of your new life together, it is quite possible for one partner to be highly offended and for the other to have no single clue why.
This is because you may have different standards and differing expectations. It may simply be due to lack of communication. So, it is important that before you decide to be offended you should speak out. ‘I feel to be unhappy because…’
You may discover that you really have no reason to be unhappy or offended; that what you took as something sinister was in fact something quite innocent.
Offences do occur nonetheless, but the good news is that God has laid down principles for dealing with them.
Facing the problem
Confrontations are always painful. You are hurt, angry and upset. What do you do? You have two options: you either face the problem or ‘sweet it under the carpet’. There are two problems with the latter option.
First, it is unbiblical and second, things ‘under the carpet’. Have a way of adding up. Small molehills become big volcanoes that suddenly erupt in a mighty explosion.
If you do not deal with the problem it will faster; anger will lead to resentment, then to bitterness, on to hatred and according to the bible, murder will reside in your heart. You will ultimately regress either into violence or silence.
Revenge and Recrimination
When one is very hurt the natural tendency may be to lash out, hit back or return pain for pain. Commonly, a wife will ‘punish’ her husband by withholding sex or refusing to cook until he sees sense or beg for forgiveness.
A husband may stay out till midnight, refuse to help in the home or with the children. Both may treat into silence or worse, violence.
Such behavior is extremely destructive. The anger and foolishness of a moment may take days to repair. In the worst case scenarios, it may never be repaired.
We need to learn to forgive quickly and to put away childish behavior. Married coup need to take the fast track to maturity. We need to grow up, to pro-act not to react. We need to become Christ-like.
If you have ‘ought against nay’ then do the decent thing and say so. It is important that you work out guidelines for resolving your problems.
Choose the time
If you are angry, hungry or the house is full of children, this is NOT the time to sort things out.
If you are really angry, cool down! Take a walk round the bloc, pray, wait until the children are in bed and the two of you can speak rationally and calmly.
Speak to the Lord before you speak to your spouse
Tell him your distress. Lay your sorrows and grief on the cross and ask him to heal you.
This is what you did/said and this is how I perceived it.
Don’t play the blame game
It has no ending. If one is hurting then both are in pin. You are one. If one of you is hurting, the other partner should acknowledge that as a fact even if they are not convinced they have offended. Be magnanimous! Forgive! Release!
Solve the problem TODAY
‘Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath’. If there seems to be no solution, put it on hold, pray and go to bed. It is surprising how different things can appear in the warm light of day.
I can remember times early in our married life when we talked for hours trying to find out who was guilty of what, apportioning blame and scoring points.
It became not only boring, but also tiring! Eventually we developed an excellent technique. It went something like this: I love you; you love me. We don’t know who is at fault. Let’s go to bed and make love. I recommend it heartily! It is certainly one in the eye for the great ‘troublemaker’.
Forgive and forget
Marriage should earn you a PHD in forgiveness! Before I married, the Lord met with me and opened my eyes about forgiveness.
One day, on my knees, I said this prayer, ‘Lord, show me my heart’. He showed me and immediately I almost regretted the prayer the prayer. I saw that my heart is; desperately wicked’, and to Him even my acts of righteousness were as filthy rags.’
Until then, I had a very high opinion of myself and a rather low opinion of just about everyone else. Inside this heart of mine, I now saw the potential for all kindness of horrible things, greed, envy, seeds of murder and many more.
I saw that my heart was capable of every kind of evil, but even worse, my heart was full of the very worst sin, pride. I saw that indeed I was a sinner saved by grace, utterly, deserving of hell.
‘Sorry’ is one of the most powerful words in the English language and one that goes a long way in the marriage relationship.
We simply cannot afford to withhold forgiveness from anyone who asks it of us. We can go one step further by freely forgiving everyone whether or not they ask.
Forgiveness is a lifestyle and the Lord modeled it to us. I have heard all kinds of reasons for forgiveness such as: ‘They don’t mean it’, I don’t feel like it;
‘They will do it again’. None of these is valid. Can you judge the state of your neighbour’s heart? Can you guarantee that you will never sin?
I f you do not freely forgive from the heart and release your partner, then several things happens:
- You yourself will not be forgiven.
- Your prayers will be blocked.
- You will be found.
- The person you do not forgive is also bound.
- You no longer have God’s wall of protection.
Doctors claim that anger and resentment (unforgiveness) predispose the body to high blood pressure, stomach ulcers and arthritis. So, do yourself a favour; forgive and release.
You should ask God to forgive you. Sometimes, all of us would be saying sorry to each other and to God. If the child needed to be disciplined that was taken care of, but always, after praying, we would have a family hug-in with all of us hugging together and telling each other, ‘I love’. Restoration brings us closer together.
- Always accept your spouses’ apology
- Give forgiveness even when it is not asked
- Pray together. Put everything onto the cross
- Affirm your love.
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