No, don’t picture hitting or shouting.
Picture this: your spouse is not even in the room. You’re with some friends, chatting about life, and suddenly the conversation turns to spouses. One lady says her husband never considers her feelings any more–he just does whatever he wants. You commiserate because your husband has been getting on your last nerve, and several recent episodes tumble from your mouth as you vent your frustration. There! It’s been said. You feel better. You can go on with life.
You have just engaged in a bit of character assassination. Against the one person who should be closest and dearest to you!
God embedded this into the ten commandments: you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
“But what I said wasn’t false!” you protest.
Wasn’t it? Think back on the language used. Did you grumble, complain, and resignedly huff, “That’s just how he is!” Did you say “he never…” or “he always…“? Did you allow your frustration to color your language a little? Did you remember all the good he has done to you and for you, or were you only thinking of the recent trouble? When we use words like never and always, we lie, because it’s almost never true! Test it out…
“He always throws his dirty socks on the floor.” That’s quite a track record. Has he never once hit the laundry basket even by mistake?
“She never wants to do what I want to do.” Was that what attracted you to her in the first place?
“She always says just the thing to get on my nerves.” You must be just on the verge of exploding! And I’m sure you always respond with a gentle answer in order to turn away her wrath.
Husbands and wives, will you agree with me that we sometimes do bear false witness against our spouses? We really need to quit. It’s not healthy, it’s lying, and it’s sinful.
We ought to remember that our moods change. Murder is committed when people act in the throws of anger. Paul commanded,
“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil” (Ephesians 4.25-27)
All these commandments work together. Anger often prompts us to falsehood as we modify and reshape the truth to serve our own purposes. The best thing to do in our anger is usually BE STILL! Don’t act! Wait. Take a breath and count to 10. Or 100. Or 1000. Whatever it takes to cool off. If we speak in our anger and frustration we are apt to sin.
- Don’t talk to him / her about it immediately. And certainly don’t talk about him / her to others.
- Pray about it and ask yourself why you feel so bad about it. Was she intentionally trying to hurt you? Does he even know how what he did or said affects you? Be honest.
- Maybe even wait a day or two before you address the problem, and in the meantime do something nice for him / her — just because.
I’ll be curious to know how it turns out 🙂 I have found most “issues” all but vanish given a little time and breathing room. I’d love to know how this technique works in your relationship.
Always speak the truth about your spouse!
Remember: Anger and lies give the devil a foothold in your life.