When Your Spouse Behaves Badly… (Vernick)

It probably goes without saying that marriages often have rocky patches in them. Husbands and wives are both sinful people and we live in a fallen world with other sinful people, so in this life there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. Even the best marriages have times of conflict and discord. This is a huge topic, of course, and there are many good Christian resources about marriage conflicts and resolutions. One resource on this topic worth checking out is How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong by Leslie Vernick. Even though I don’t necessarily agree with all of it, I did appreciate the wisdom found in it. Here’s one such section:

The same process that we use to train our bodies to become stronger applies to spiritual growth and maturity as well. For example, we have already learned how important it is to think about the right response when our spouse displeases us. However, we must start to train ourselves in what that right response might look like. For some of us it may mean learning to keep our mouth shut tight until we’ve had a chance to think and to pray about how we want to respond. I’ve never had a problem with words, and I can hold my own against even the most formidable opponent. I have had to train myself to keep quiet when I want to vent. I have had to discipline my tongue not to say everything out loud just because I’m thinking it. Somethings are better left unsaid, and I have learned the hard way that reckless and careless words hurt my husband even if at the moment I feel better. Later I may ask for forgiveness, but even a sincere apology doesn’t wipe away the sting of ugly words hurled in a moment of uncontrolled anger.

God never tells us to try to be spiritual, he tells us to train. Paul said, “Train yourself to be godly” (1 Timothy 4:7). Jesus taught, “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). Do you want to be more like Jesus? Stop trying and choose to start training.

Leslie Vernick, How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong, p. 126.

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI, 54015