“not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9
A pastor of mine once said that he and his wife never fight, they just have loud fellowship. My husband and I used to have some knock down drag out fights when we were first married. I was right, he was right, and the next thing you knew it was all out war. The more he pushed, the more I pushed until we ended up saying something that hurt the other, and it always ended in my tears, and him slamming his office door.
Peter tells us that we are to not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but we are to be a blessing so that we might inherit a blessing. Most of the fights my husband and I had were as far from blessed as you can get. But after I became a Christian, the Lord showed me that fighting with my husband only pushed him away, when God was calling me to draw him close.
The word rendering means to give back what is given, you want to pay back what has been paid out to you. The word reviling means abuse. You have been hurt so you want to hurt, they are angry with you so you become angry with them. We get in the endless cycle of “he said this, so I am going to say that. He did this so I am going to do that.” No one ever wins those battles, and we always end up hurting one another and cause rifts in our marriages.
Jesus teaches us that we are to turn the other cheek, we are to bless instead of curse when someone hurts us or treats us badly. “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44) When your husband says something to you that gets your hackles up, your first instinct is to retaliate. We are upset at what they just said, and our first response is to either say something back or give them the look. (You know you have one, all women do.) But what Jesus calls us to do is to bless them, to make our response one that will bless them and free us from saying something we do not mean.
This was a hard lesson for me to learn, especially since I was raised by a mother who fought back when she was wronged. She took nothing off of anyone, and if you stepped out of line in her eyes, you would hear about it. When the Lord showed me this passage of scripture and how I was to apply it towards my marriage, I struggled. My husband would say things just to get a rise out of me, and being the kind of person I was, I would instantly fight back. But the Lord would come in with conviction and I would have to apologize and ask for forgiveness for what I just said. This caused my husband to look at me differently. No longer did I retaliate, but instead I would give him a soft answer, and reply with a simple, “let me pray about it” or “I’m sorry if I made you feel that way.” Proverbs 15:1 tells us that a “soft answer turns away wrath; but a harsh word stirs up anger.” My husband would come to me in a fit of anger, and instead of speaking back to him in that same angry tone, I would instead speak softly and kindly to him. This stopped almost all of our fights instantly, and usually put a damper on any anger he was feeling.
Once my husband came to me in an uproar, upset about a decision that I had made without him in regards to the children. He had specifically told me that he did not feel right about the decision I had made and was upset that I did not listen to him. My first instinct was to fight back and tell him what I thought, but the Lord spoke to my heart and told me to speak softly. I replied to his anger with “I am sorry, I should have listened to what you were asking and talked to you before I made any decision.” The look on his face was priceless. Instantly the anger dissipated and calm came over him. He walked away and I returned to what I was doing. A few minutes later he came back and apologized for getting angry at me. He apologized for speaking to me in that tone of voice and we were able to work out the problem without fighting, and without any loud fellowship. It was only because I heeded the voice of the Lord and chose blessing instead of cursing that we were able to resolve the situation without anger or hurtful words towards one another.
One of the greatest challenges we will face as Christian wives married to unbelievers is to love them even when they are wronging us or treating us in a disrespectful way. It is during these times that we are instructed not to return evil for evil, but to grasp instead the blessings that Christ has for us and for them. No dispute, argument, or conflict that you have with your husband should linger for any amount of time. Even if he gets out of control, and begins to speak things that are hurting you, the only response you need to have towards him is one of love and mercy and forgiveness. You should keep the problem small and short lived. Anger will destroy a marriage faster than anything. It is up to us, as children of God to bless our husbands instead of fighting with them.
For the rest of this chapter, or to purchase this book, go to: http://www.amazon.com/Stephane-Singletary/e/B00HLRSVUG "Winning Him Without a Word- Learning to Live and Love and Unbelieving Husband" available in paperback and Kindle.