Does your husband tend to give full vent to his temper when you disagree with his opinion or his desires? When you guys have a conflict, does he end up yelling at you or saying mean things? When this happens, deep heart wounds occur. There must be a better way to handle conflict! Here are a couple things you can do to help put out his anger fire before it scorches you:
1) If a disagreement is starting to get a bit ugly, YOU can simply stop arguing! Tell your husband that you love him and you want to take a time-out before discussing the issue further. Tell him that you’re going to think and pray about his perspective and that you’d love him to do the same for you. Then agree to talk about it again later that day or tomorrow.
2) Remain calm even if your husband does not. Refuse to match his loud volume or hurtful comments. In fact, if he becomes emotionally abusive, calmly tell him you do not allow anyone to speak to you that way, and then walk away. If he follows you and continues the emotional abuse, get in your car and drive away. Do not tolerate aggressive, harsh, or wounding treatment from your husband during conflict. That is not God’s plan for how a wife should be treated. Colossians 3:19 says, “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”
So many couples, especially young couples, argue over money. They disagree over how much to spend, how much to save, the financial priorities, whether to help loved ones in need, whether to give to the church, and on and on.
You might not be aware, but the Bible actually gives a ton of guidance on how to handle money and possessions! I have found 3 particular Bible principles to be especially helpful for couples who have been suffering from financial tension and strain in their marriages. Allow me to summarize those principles for you. (You can look up the verses for yourself and ask the Lord to counsel you directly).
Bible Principle 1: Live intentionally below your means! (Hebrews 13:5) So many couples are under heavy financial strain because there is no real cushion in their budget. They’ve bought the biggest house they could possibly afford or the most expensive car they could afford, and then when something unexpected comes up, they become super stressed-out and start ugly arguments!
Bible Principle 2: Don’t wear yourself out or stress yourself out by working too much to accumulate possessions and wealth because those things will mean nothing at the end of your life. The only thing that will matter is your love for the Lord and the people he placed in your life. (Proverbs 23:4)
Bible Principle 3: Take a step of faith and cheerfully give some of your money back to the work of the Lord because He promises to reward those who trust Him by doing so! (Malachi 3:10). I’ve done this faithfully for several decades whether I felt like I had the money to give or not. The Lord has always provided for me, sometimes in strange and unusual ways!
I’m an expert conflict avoider. How about you? I grew up in a household where there was a lot of yelling and rage and verbal abuse. As a result, everything within me always tried desperately to avoid anything in my marriage that could have resulted in tension, raised voices, or anything remotely resembling conflict.
However, avoiding conflict is a recipe for disaster in a marriage. I learned that the hard way in my first marriage, which failed. Here’s the thing. If you don’t address the things that are really bothering you about your husband or your marriage, a seed of bitterness is planted in your heart. That seed slowly takes root and grows, and after months and years go by, you will most likely grow to despise your husband and want a divorce! Not good.
So, commit to respectfully, lovingly, and diligently address the things that are bothering you within your marriage. Hebrews 12:15 warns us not to let “any bitter root grow up among you to cause trouble…” So, ask God to give you the courage to gently and respectfully discuss your concerns with your husband. Ask God to give you the courage to express your needs and desires to your husband. Do not become invisible. When you start stuffing your feelings and immediately cave in during disagreements, toxic resentment will start to grow inside you. Don’t let that happen!
There’s a golden phrase I discovered many years ago. When I started using it, I found it helped prevent my husband from getting defensive when I was upset or frustrated about something he had said or done. Instead of accusing him of doing something wrong, I learned to kindly and sincerely ask this question: “Help me understand why…”
This simple question prevents the monster of defensiveness from raising its ugly head. By asking your husband to “help me understand”, you’re communicating two things to your husband. 1) You really do care about his perspective and feelings, and 2) You’re acknowledging there may actually be a legitimate reason for why he did or said whatever. At least, you’re giving him a chance to explain himself before you start arguing with him or condemning him!!
By asking your husband to help you understand his behavior or perspective, you’re avoiding a foolish argument. Proverbs 18:2 says “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.” By asking your husband to help you understand his perspective, you’re pleasing both God and your husband by living out the instructions in Philippians 2:4 “Each of you should consider not only your own interests, but also the interests of others.”
Try this phrase when you sense a potential ugly argument is headed your way. You can not only use this phrase with your husband, but with your children, your in-laws, your co-workers, your boss, and more. Again, the phrase (actually a question) is….”Help me understand why…”
It’s natural during disagreements with your husband to believe you’re right, he’s wrong, and you must convince him of that! However, if you stay stuck in that mindset, the battle only heats up. He gets defensive. You get defensive. Usually, the situation either evolves into yelling and ugly accusations or a silent, but deadly cold war. There is a better way, and it begins with rethinking your end goal.
What if your goal was not to “win” the argument or change his mind? What if the goal was to reach a compromise or solution that addresses the biggest concerns of you both? Seriously. Think about it. Now you both win and there are no losers. This means that you both agree to consider the other person’s perspective, fears, values, and concerns. From there, you begin to present ideas that might address both of your main concerns. Philippians 2:4 reminds us “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
So, the next time you and your husband start to have a significant disagreement, suggest that you would like to sit down together and better understand his perspective and concerns. Then gently share your concerns, and ask him to join you in brainstorming a solution or compromise that would be the best fit for both of you.
I hear quite a few stories of women, both married and unmarried, who tell me how arguments get heated in their relationships. Their husband says something critical, and they dish it right back at him. Their boyfriend says something unkind, and they lash right back at him. In both cases, arguments quickly evolve into a really ugly war because neither one paused before responding. Pausing is one of the most important moments in any relationship! It is the KEY moment!
The Bible says in Proverbs 12:18 “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” It is SO important to pause instead of reacting with reckless words! So the next time you feel your temper about to erupt, pause for 5 or 10 seconds. Ask God to show you in that moment how He wants you to respond. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what will likely happen if you say what you feel like saying in this tense moment! (Usually, the Holy Spirit will show me that those words I was about to say will cause some serious damage in the relationship!) You may even need to leave the room during this pause.
By the way, if you’re texting back and forth with your guy, you may need to put down your cell phone and pray before you text back!! Remember, once those words have been voiced in person or typed in on your text, you can’t take them back. “Pausing” is one of your best friends in any relationship!
You’ve probably heard the saying, “If mom ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Although the primary message of this saying is that mom’s attitude affects the whole family, I think a secondary message is just as significant. If a wife conveys to her husband through her constant complaints and criticisms that she’s not happy, her husband begins to feel like a failure and starts to close his heart to her.
Unfortunately, many wives get stuck in this dynamic. We tend to point out one disappointment after another to our husbands. We remind him that we notice he forgot to take out the garbage. We point out that he hasn’t communicated in our love language recently. We remind him that he hasn’t played with the kids in a while. In short, we can’t seem to resist pointing out his flaws. Adding insult to injury, we then get really upset that he seems emotionally withdrawn from us!
Perhaps it’s time to pick our battles more carefully. Maybe we should let the small stuff slide. Proverbs 12:16 says, “Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.” Let’s ask God to help us affirm what our husbands do right, overlook the small imperfections, and only confront our husbands if they are truly sinning against us and/or the children. EVERYBODY in the family will be happier!
I’m on a journey of learning how to do relationships in a healthier, God-directed way! I don’t know about you, but when I get really disappointed in my husband or anybody, I tend to go in one of two unhealthy directions. 1) I avoid the potential conflict entirely by clamming up, putting up an ice shield, and then spiraling down into toxic resentment or 2) I let my tongue run wild and blast the person with both barrels! Neither one of these options yields good results.
God’s way is so much different and better! He says in Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. Gentle words. Gentle words. Gentle words. I need to remind myself of this! God is saying that we can avoid a nasty argument if we speak gently and kindly and maybe even assume the best about the other person instead of giving full vent to our anger.
I got to practice this a little while ago. My husband was really stressed as we were on a long-distance drive. I was attempting to help with googling a gas station, but my phone ran out of data. Ugh. Then he started getting really sharp with me in his tone. I mean…REALLY sharp. I felt disrespected. And oh boy, I decided that I didn’t deserve that tone and that I was going to tell him what a jerk he was. Yeah, pastor’s wives don’t always have gracious thoughts apparently. Sigh.
Anyway, somehow God got my attention before I blasted him and God reminded me of Proverbs 15:1. So, I bit my tongue until we got all the way home, and as my husband was about to exit the car, I turned to him, laid a hand softly on his arm and said gently, “I know you love me and you would never intend to hurt me, but the way you talked to me back there was not okay. Please don’t talk to me like that again.” And that was that. No big blow-up. He didn’t feel condemned because I affirmed that I know he loves me. With God’s prompting, I was able to defuse the nasty argument before it could start. Gentle words. Gentle words. Gentle words. Let’s all remember that!