And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. Mark 11:25
I woke up angry. After tossing and turning for a few minutes, I got in the shower, fully aware there was no chance I could fall back asleep. Despite my anger, I decided to speak to my husband so I could wake him up for work. He questioned why I was waking up an hour early. In my anger, I read the clock wrong and got out of bed much earlier than necessary. Oops!
When Scott finally emerged from bed, I shared with him why I was upset.
“I had a dream about you, and it made me wake up mad.”
“Did I die?” he inquires.
“No, but something else happened, and now I am upset.”
He responds with a joke and moves on to start his day, knowing nothing really happened.
I had to chuckle and realize I am back in reality and that I had a bad dream and nothing in it was true.
While I was unjustified in my anger, I was still upset. Because we are married and drawing breath, there are going to be days that I offend Scott or he offends me and there is anger, hurt feelings, or disappointment between us. There are going to be days where I am just in a mood to find fault in things my husband does.
How do we handle conflict in marriage?
We need to be quick to forgive.
That is easier said than done.
Some days I want to hold onto my anger. I feel justified, so I do not want to let it go quickly. Those days, I find that my inability to forgive quickly is driving a wedge in our marriage.
Someone has to go first! Someone has to be willing to let down their guard and say, “Hey, I am sorry I reacted that way, let’s move on.”
Do you find yourself so angry with someone yet you cannot even recall what the offending incident was? We want to hold onto our right to be mad, even if it means a fractured relationship.
What would your spouse think if you reached out and said, “I am sorry.”
I know that for many of you, your spouse was the one who committed what you may feel is the unpardonable sin, but let go of your hurt for a few minutes and think about your marriage.
Wives, were you showing respect to your husband?
Husbands, were you loving your wife the way Christ loves the church?
My point is that we all have to take responsibility for our marriage problems. Instead of letting resentment build up, ask your spouse for forgiveness for the role you played in the problems.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
I am convinced that many marriages would not be facing the struggles they go through if people would be quick to offer forgiveness and be willing to communicate. It is not easy, but the Lord can equip us to do it.
My husband and I started going through a book that is set up to guide a couple through a weekly meeting. In it, we ask each other questions like, “What brought you joy this week? What was hard this week? How can I serve you next week? How can I pray for you?”
Those are such simple questions, but to be honest, I have rarely sat down with my husband and asked him those questions on a regular basis.
It is an opportunity for us to be honest about the hard days and to pray for each other. I have found that I am often so consumed with my feelings, frustrations, or disappointments that I do not consider the issues my husband is facing in his own life.
How would your spouse react if you asked, “How can I serve you?”
Some of you do not have regular contact with your spouse, and that is a prayer that we continually pray. We pray that communication would begin immediately. Ask the Lord to give you the opportunity to reach out to your spouse and to offer forgiveness, prayer, and love.
Others of you are living with an in-home prodigal. It may feel awkward at first, but ask your spouse when they could spare 10 minutes and ask those questions. Here is the secret…really listen to their answer. It may not be what you want to hear. Don’t get offended but instead, ask the Lord to equip you to receive the words your spouse is saying.
This week, be quick to forgive and show love to your spouse, even if you feel they don’t deserve it!
Lori Steinkamp Lassen
Rejoice Marriage Ministries, Inc.
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