Learn specific ways to focus on your marriage problems instead of on your mates shortcomings.
Family Counseling Ministries -
Marital conflict is not fun. Because we are sinners, we
are naturally inclined to defend our actions, justify our motives and promote
our own selfish agendas. When husbands and wives experience marital discord,
one of the greatest detriments to achieving biblical solutions is our innate
tendency to attack each other, rather than the problem.
The writer of Romans 2:1 sternly warns,
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on
someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning
yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
When our spouse approaches us with a question or complaint
about a particular behavior or attitude, we are usually quick to retaliate. We
often hurl back a counter-complaint,
Okay, so I forgot to mail the car payment on time. You never
serve a meal that isnt two hours late.
When a problem in marriage arises a good rule of thumb is to
deal with objective facts, not subjective feelings. We should not blame our
mate. A better plan, in the heat of the moment, is to ask God for the insight
to see beyond the emotional frustration. We need to pray for discernment to
understand the root of the problem.
A wife who finds for example, that her husband has mailed
a bill payment late is probably frustrated and anxious because the late payment
has adversely affected their credit rating. She must, however, avoid calling
his character into question with such comments as, Does it even matter to you
that this has ruined our good credit? She should instead, express her concern
objectively and propose a solution, such as posting a schedule for bill
payments on the refrigerator. Such a suggestion becomes a practical step
towards solving the problem.
Marriage partners should refrain from cracks about
in-laws or other relatives. When a husband observes a trait in his wife that
reminds him of a negative quality in her mother, he may be tempted to say,
Youre just like your mother. The husband must resist the temptation. This is
a double-edged insult that is very hard to un-do.
Likewise husbands and wives must not make derogatory
comments about their mates appearance. We read this exhortation in Proverbs
25:11, A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. For
example, a wife who is consistently irritated by her husbands inability to
choose matching clothes may be longing to say, Those pants look atrocious with
that shirt. Why cant you see that they dont go together? A kinder and more
encouraging approach is for the wife to ask her husband if she might suggest
which of his outfits she finds most attractive.
It is wise to fight the urge to use such all-encompassing
words as, You never
or You always
We tend to readily level such irrational
accusations in a push to be right and to win an argument. But such comments are
counter-productive and they derail the process of conflict resolution. The
accused party no longer focuses on problem solving, because he or she now
begins to chronicle specific times and instances when, in fact, He or she did
or He or she didnt
Marriage partners frequently interrupt one another in the
midst of conflict resolution. Each person wants his or her opinions to be
heard. The solution that most naturally comes to mind is to get progressively
louder in order to get ones point across.
Not so, according to Gods Rules. God instructs us in
The woman Folly is loud; she is undisciplined and without
We ought to make a determined effort to turn the volume
down and to wait patiently until it is our turn to speak.
When husbands and wives focus on the problem rather than
on each others shortcomings, they make great strides toward achieving biblical
resolution to conflicts within marriage.