Questions & Answers To Everyday Life
Itís His/Her Fault! Why Should I Say Iím Sorry? Keeping A Marriage Intact
Believe it or not, the divorce rate is about
52% in the U.S. and the vast majority are filed for reasons other than adultery,
which is believed to be the only plausible Biblical reason for divorce.
I understand that some marriages are just
simply too dangerous to stay in. To
those who are living under these circumstances I say get out and take your
children with you. But what about
the rest of us who just simply canít get along with our mate.
It seems we just canít agree on anything anymore.
He/she is just too opinionated for their own good and man are they
judgmental! And on top of that,
they just donít respect me like they should!
Right now Iím extremely angry over what he/she said to me and it will
be a cold day in hell before I say Iím sorry.
Virtually everyone who is married will go through this scenario before
they die. And unless at least one
of the couple is sold out to the Lord it almost always leads down a path of
bitterness and/or divorce.
I had a person contact me the other day who
told me they had discovered something their Christian spouse was doing and it
made them very angry. She assured
me that it wasnít anything like adultery or even immoral, but certainly, it
was something they felt God would not be pleased withÖbut I didnít pry.
In anger she immediately confronted her
spouse, which started a heated argument that spilled over into the next morning.
Finally, they both went their separate ways in anger.
But that afternoon, when she got home, she noticed that her spouse
didnít come home. As she went to
bed that night, it was apparent that he wasnít coming home.
She also mentioned that this wasnít the first time this had happened.
In the past, when theyíve had arguments, her spouse had stayed away for
weeks at a time.
In questioning her, I found out that both
have been born again Christians for many years, although, she felt that her
spouse slipped from time to time. This
I found to be a part of the problem because she seemed to get angry and judge
the spouse when she discovered he had fallen.
She knew that she was wrong in judging her
husband but felt that it wasnít her fault and did not see the need to
apologize. After all, he had said
some very mean things to me during the argument. In fact, the word divorce came up several times.
Her main concern was how she should handle
this situation and how does she avoid repeating it.
The first thing I told her was that she wasn't her husbands Holy Spirit or God. If your Christian spouse is not living right you need to let God do His work on him. If you believe God has directed you to confront your spouse regarding a situation you should do it in love and never with a spirit of condemnation. She agreed.
Then we progressed to the next step, which
was to call their spouse and tell them that they were sorry for their part of
the argument. But she was hesitant about that because she felt the spouse had
said a lot of hurtful things as well. Besides,
she felt she was always the one to apologize first.
We talked about a few other things, and in
the end, she did come short of promising to make that phone call.
If we would have been able to continue our
conversation I would have suggested the following steps.
These steps are not the answer to all marital problems but certainly to
most, and of course, you can pick and choose the oneís that apply to you.
Donít leave it up to your spouse to make things right, listen to what
the Holy Spirit tells you and do it without delay.
Being right has ruined many a marriage.
2. Donít let your anger keep you from getting right with your spouse right away. I challenge anyone to show me where it says in the Bible that you should wait until youíre not angry anymore before you make things right. What the Bible does say is ďlet not the sun go down upon your wrath (Ephesians 4:26b)Ē.
My advice is to apologize as quickly as possible even if youíre still angry. And it needs to be sincere at least to the recipient. You maybe angry at the time, but trust me, youíll get over it if your desire is to be in the Lordís will.
One more thing, Satan would love for you to put off what you know the Lord has told you to do todayÖgives him more time to call up all the bad things your spouse has said to you. If you wait, look for a long and miserable time ahead.
You may say, ďBut Iím married and living in the same house with this personÖitís not that easy!Ē Ask the Lord to help you forgive and forget the wrong that your spouse has done you. If you have to pray all day long then so be it. But I think you will find that if you turn control of this situation and your anger over to the Lord He will work wonders.
3. After seeking forgiveness, prevent seeds of bitterness from cropping up in your heart and mind. Too many times we harbor past hurts and they continually prevent a marriage from going forward. If you are to realize the results of your efforts, when these thoughts pop up in your mind, you need to do your best to quash them. Donít allow the past to come back and hinder the progress of your marriage.
4. Once you reconcile, you need to develop a plan that will help you avoid arguments with your spouse. Have an action plan worked out to minimize arguments or potential problems.
You may ask what is an action plan? An example of an action plan would be, if I get into an argument with my spouse I will immediately apologize for my part of the argument. Unfortunately, people choose to get into arguments, and yes, it does take two. For me, knowing that I will have to apologize if I choose to engage has helped me stay out of arguments more than a few times.
Another example of an action plan would be to pray for wisdom before you confront your spouse about something he/she has done that has made you angry. Always avoid being judgmental and come to your spouse in a spirit of love. God didnít put you in your spouseís life to be their junior Holy Spirit. He (God) does just fine in that department all by Himself.
A word about the purpose of an action plan. The main purpose of an action plan is to keep you from doing or saying something that you will later regret. Itís purpose should be to keep you accountable to the Lord not to man. As long as you are focused on being accountable to the Lord you should be fine. You should also make a list of hot button behaviors that you know sets off your spouse and stay far away from them. Too many times that is the first place we go when we are angry.
5. Never (again) suggest or tell your spouse to leave or get out. I have heard time and again spouses tell spouses in the heat of an argument to get out or just leave. This is a very dangerous habit to get into. You should realize if you start this, there will come a day when they might not come back.
This should never come out of your mouth or any words that would suggest they should go. At the time it may sound like the right thing to say but in the long run it will bring devastating long-term results to you, your husband, and more importantly, to watching children. Is this really what you want?
6. Never consider divorce as an option or even bring it up. This is another topic Christian couples talk about all to freely. Simply put, this is not an option unless your mate has committed adultery, and even then, itís better for everyone involved (children) if you try to reconcile. But that is the only time the subject should even be addressed.
7. Never reveal your spouses faults or hidden sins to friends, relatives or neighbors. If you do, more times than not, that will end up being a recipe for divorce. Satan will continuously bombard you with bitter memories that you will want to tell others about. Resist this temptation with all your spiritual strength. This is strictly a move out of anger and bitterness, and does not look after the long-term success of your spouse. Plus, if you do reconcile, that knowledge will be out there and can never be erased. You can also expect it to circulate quickly among relatives and neighbors making it a threat to finally get back to your spouse. Regardless of how well your relationship may be going at the time, that bit of information could cause it to come to a screeching halt.
8. Lastly, develop a line of mutual respect and consideration between the two of you and avoid crossing it at all cost. Without respect and consideration, it will be next to impossible to maintain a healthy and happy marriage.
Women, you should know, according to scripture, God has placed the man over the woman to love her as Christ loved the church. This is a position that is to be respected and taken seriously. Too many times the husband takes on this responsibility with a negative sense of power. This shouldnít be the case. He is to take this responsibility in all love and humility submitting to one another in all love and mutual respect (Ephesians 5:21-25).
Of course, if your spouse is not a Christian many of these principles will fall on deaf ears. But that doesnít mean your marriage has to fail. God has provided a formula for success even under these circumstances. Take a look at I Peter 3:1-7:
ďLikewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.Ē
Christian spouse (whether man or woman), you maybe the only Bible they see or read. For many, you could be their only hope to hear the Gospel.
Yes, you can have a successful marriage if you are committed to following the game plan the Lord has designed. Are you ready to make the commitment necessary to bring them to the Lord?
Christian couple, are you ready to make the commitment to honor one another as Christ loved the church?
Certainly, the above mentioned steps are easier said than done and will be near impossible to adhere to without your complete surrender to the Lord. But this is critical if you are to heal the wounds that usually run very deep as a marriage struggles to get back on track.
Unfortunately, most people use the Lord until the problem seemingly looks resolved. But that usually only takes care of the surface, and before long, they find themselves right back in the mess they thought was long gone.
If you are to kill the root of the problem you need to get self out of the way. As the healing process continues, itís extremely important that you commit yourself to allow the Lord to change you and leave your spouse to the Lord as well. As I said earlier, your spouse doesnít need a junior Holy Spirit. If you are committed to allowing God to be the center of your marriage then let Him take care of your spouse.
I hope you will make this commitment today!
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