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Don’t Sweep Your Problems Under the Rug!

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
Do you ever use the “Silent Treatment” to punish your spouse when you are angry?

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The writers of the Bible devoted large portions of Scripture to how we are to conduct our interpersonal relationships. God places high priority on how, specifically, husbands and wives should treat one another. We learn in His Rulebook, for example, that lashing out in anger at our spouses is not an acceptable means of communication.


Despite what we may have learned in a culture that values the freedom to “speak your mind,” God has placed limitations on our speech—even in the husband/wife relationship.


Pride lies at the root of the idea that we may say anything that comes to our minds. As we approach a situation involving conflict with our mate, if our foremost goal is to air our grievances and be right, we are guilty of the sin of pride. Yet, we know that the Lord resists the proud. He showers His grace upon us, however, when we humble ourselves before an offended spouse.

When we run away from a problem and refuse to work on an acceptable solution, we cheat ourselves and break yet another of God’s rules. It is impossible to speak the truth in love, as God commands, when we walk away from a discussion, (or stomp away in anger and perhaps slam the door for dramatic effect.) Using the silent treatment as a weapon to punish our husband or wife is unfair, unkind and unloving.


If we try to ignore our feelings and attempt to “sweep our problems under the rug,” we soon find ourselves wallowing in self-pity and drowning in an assortment of physical ailments.


Spouting off anything that we may be thinking, however, is not the flip side of stuffing our feelings somewhere inside ourselves. When we refuse to carefully and lovingly speak the truth to one another we disobey our Heavenly Father. As we continue to sin against each other in this manner, we also sin against God.

It has been well said, “It is easier to act yourself into a new way of feeling, than to feel yourself into a new way of acting.” Emotions are capricious. Feelings change rapidly and constantly. We must not trust our feelings as a basis for right behavior.


When we choose to act on the basis of our will, rather than on our feelings, we begin a journey toward mending the breach that separates us from the most important person God has placed in our lives.


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