When spouses refuse to forgive one another, a defiling root of bitterness grows in their hearts.
Family Counseling Ministries -
There is a deep-seated tendency in the heart of every man
and woman to react in anger to marriage problems as they arise. God has a more
excellent plan. He commands marriage partners to respond to problems in wisdom.
The writer of Proverbs 15:1 instructs us,
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up
The natural reaction of someone who has been offended is to
inflict hurt in returnto return evil for evil. But we must be careful not to
trust our natural inclinations. Gods ways are not our ways.
We find this exhortation in Proverbs 29:11,
A fool gives vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself
According to the Bible, God expects His children to
control their anger. In order to control his or her anger, an offended spouse
must focus on problem-resolution rather than retaliation. Each partner is able
to see his or her own point of view all too clearly. But an offended husband or
wife must have godly wisdom in order to truly see the perspective of his or her
We learn in Scripture that anger is the product of
unforgiveness. Gods command in Colossians 3:13 makes it clear that refusing to
forgive is not an option for Christians:
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may
have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
When husbands or wives refuse to forgive past offenses
that their mates have committed against them, a root of bitterness grows in
their hearts and minds. God warns us in Hebrews 12:15 that this bitterness not
only causes the unforgiving partner to come short of His grace, but like
poison, it spills out of him or her and defiles many other people within his or
her scope of influence.
An important strategy for overcoming anger toward ones spouse
is to understand the many, complex differences between men and women. Whereas
men tend, for example, to be more objective in their thinking processes, women
tend to be more subjective. A husband often cannot understand why his wife gets
so emotional about little things. His viewpoint is generally more detached and
generalized. For him, facts are facts.
For his wife, however, feelings come first. When, for
example, he informs his wife that the Smiths cant come for dinner because of a
prior commitment, she responds, I wonder if we did anything to offend them.
She tends to be more detail-minded and thus, more likely to evaluate facts and
events as they relate to her loved ones and to herself. Her husband cannot comprehend
how his wife arrived at the assumption that the Smiths may have been offended.
She, on the other hand, finds it hard to believe that her husband can be so
insensitive to the Smiths feelings. She wonders why her husband seems to be
unemotional about such important matters.
As husbands and wives seek to understand the God-created
differences between men and women, they will progress toward a mutual
understanding and increased marital harmony in their relationship with one