A Marriage Manifesto for When You Are at Odds with Your Man
Conflict in marriage. What couple doesn’t have it?
One wife wrote to me asking about conflict in my marriage. Here’s her question…
Dear Jolene, I was wondering if you and your husband could address how you have gotten through times when you did not necessarily agree or feel united together. While I admire your strong marriage, I wonder if you could share times when you and your husband were struggling in your relationship and how you overcame those challenges.
So, has there ever been a time in my marriage that I was at odds with my man?
When we couldn’t see eye to eye?
When we weren’t on the same page?
When he made me fuming mad?
When he brought this sweet thing to tears? (lol)
Take two, imperfect, human beings that are filled with sin, put them under the same roof and guess what you get? CONFLICT, with a capital “C”!
But who enjoys having a marriage like that? Certainly not me! (This is the perspective I try to keep when the winds of conflict blow my way.)
So, let me give you some biblical principles that my Beloved and I have applied to our marriage so we can:
A. Decrease the amount of conflict in our relationship
B. Reach a resolution much quicker so we can remain in unity,
C. And keep my tears to a minimum! 🙂
Conflict WILL take place in your marriage- expect it! But this list should help you be prepared to handle it in a way that is pleasing to the Lord.
I’ve called this list A Marital Manifesto for When You Are at Odds with Your Man.
It’s not an exhaustive list, but rather a starting place.
1. Create and cultivate emotional trust in your marriage.
When the disagreements come, it’s easy to feel like you’ve married the wrong guy. Every marriage has disagreements because we’re two separate individuals. But nothing good can come from emotionally threatening your spouse with the word, ‘divorce’*. Make an agreement to not even bring up that word in your marriage no matter how bad the argument or situation is (assuming there is no abuse or infidelity.)
“So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:6
2. Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.
Even if the two of you disagree on an issue or there has been miscommunication in your conversation, (much like there has been in mine), make the decision to have your hearts re-connect before you put your head on the pillow that night.
It’s okay to ‘table’ the issue and address it in the morning. Just make sure there is no anger in your heart toward one another. By going to bed angry, you are giving place to the enemy to sow seeds of discord in your heart. And let’s not forget the notion of lying in bed while being at odds with your man. You’ll have the tendency to dig up other issues in your mind while you stew over the argument, just like I’ve done! This is not a good place for your heart and mind to be.
“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Ephesians 4:26,27
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Live a poured out life for Christ,
Your written response has truly blessed my heart. Thank you for responding to my inquiry. I cannot wait to listen to you and your husband, the words of your posts came alive and became flesh for me during your last radio broadcast. Thank you. And how wonderfully ordained that I am reading God’s words on relationships on a day when the world tells us to celebrate with chocolate and flowers and often unattainable romantic fantasies. God is working through you, Jolene. And this post, for the most part (excluding passages that apply only to marriage) is a great, biblical breath of fresh air on how to resolve in any relationship. When I was reading your words in one area, I thought of my sister, and as I was reading, a co-worker came to mind. God gives us powerful words to minister to us in any situation, and you did a beautiful job of bringing illuminating His words.
I enjoyed your radio show. You and your Beloved feed off of each other in thought and mind. The “never say divorce” was such a great piece of advise. I loved your husband’s analogy to pointing a gun at your boss- the trust is broken and it is very hard to take that back.
I just have a question. I have read about the fact that both you and your beloved have been divorced. Did you both have a biblical reason to get divorced, because unless there is adultery, abandonment by an unbelieving spouse, or possibly physical endangerment, divorce is not an option, right?
If I got divorced outside of the Bible’s given exceptions when divorce is okay, can I get remarried?
Glad to hear you enjoyed the radio show! And, yes, we do feed off a each other. 🙂
Regarding our divorces…
(Eric Responding) I was married for 9 years. When I met her, she claimed to be a Christian, but as a young man I did not receive a whole lot of of instruction from my parents in choosing a spouse. I chose her on the basis that she said that she loved me and loved the Lord. From the first year of the marriage she said that “she wanted a divorce” hence my personal insight to the instruction given on the radio show. I never said it to her and never wanted one either. God hates divorce and so did I. I begged her not to say that word because I knew of the damage that it did to me as well as to the marriage.
She would ask me if I was happy. My response then is the same as it is now… “The call from the Lord and the Bible is to be obedient, NOT TO BE HAPPY” I was committed for life to this woman. I was not confused with the difference between happiness (the current circumstances, or happenings) and obedience (the call of the believer to follow the Lord no matter what the circumstances are…even unto death!) I expressed to her that if she wanted a divorce that she would have to follow through with it because I never would. Needless to say she announced to me on my birthday 9 years later that she had filed for divorce. I told her that I still wasn’t leaving! (I did not think that she would follow through)… she did follow through. So I was free. 1 Corinthians 7:15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.
Although I am divorced, I never divorced anyone, but she did divorce me. Ironically, had I participated in the divorce, Jolene would never have considered me for marriage, because my character would have been ruined as a Man of God. Don’t misunderstand… I do feel that after 9 years the Lord did deliver me from being a lifetime recipient of continual verbal abuse, physical abuse, and rage, but I never would have filed for divorce outside of biblical reasons, and I never did. I was committed to Obedience to the Lord no matter what… Oh how he rewarded me with Jolene for that faithfulness. By the way, the second time I was married, I let the Lord pick her. He picked someone I would have NEVER picked, yet I am blessed in this marriage beyond any relationship that I could have ever imagined. Go figure…GO LORD!
(Jolene Responding) I was not saved when I got married the first time. He became abusive and I left. A few years later he remarried. A few years after that, I got saved. Then the Lord picked my Beloved to be my husband. Needless to say, through all of the pain of our previous marriages, the Lord has used what the enemy meant for evil to be used for His glory.
Thanks Jolene (and Eric), I loved that in your response, Eric said that God picked Jolene for him, just as Jolene has written about how God arranged her marriage with Eric. I think it is really inspirational to hear that from a man, because women are so apt to focus on the romantic notion of their Father finding them the ordained man for their lives, that I think it is good to remember that God is also just as concerned about making sure He has a hand in ordaining us for our men too.
Dear sweet friend,
Your comment so ministered to my heart! Glad to hear that what I shared has helped you in your relationships. To God be the glory.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story with us. Yes, I did take the time to read your entire comment! 🙂
I am sorry you had to endure so much pain but it’s wonderful to hear that you have a marriage now that is full of love and forgiveness. Seeing how your first husband had many affairs, you had biblical grounds to file for a divorce. You weren’t in the wrong and don’t let the enemy tell you otherwise (or other Christians, for that matter.)
Blessings to you,
Thank you, Jolene for sharing this important post and the radio program. It is a timely reminder to me, too. I pray this will bless and help many. Very encouraging stuff.
Thanks for stopping by and for your sweet and encouraging comment! I appreciate your weekly linkup as well. Thanks for hosting it!
Blessings to you,
Welcome to SDG! I think your post is so full of encouragement and scripturally sound advice. The part that hit my heart the most was about the bitterness growing in my marriage. I think we are in a better place now, but I would often use bitterness as a form of self-protection, which then continued to break down trust and intimacy even further. Since I am an in a better place with God, I can seek Him for protection and not have to formulate my own walls.
Choosing your words carefully … this sure helps, doesn’t it.
Welcome to the Soli Sisters.
Welcome to SDG…wise words…I think it is so important to learn healthy conflict resolution so avoid a build-up of anger and bitterness. Blessings to you!
Hi Jolene – I love this and as my marriage is very important to me and the seas get rough sometimes, I am bookmarking this page 🙂
It is definitely something I want to sink my teeth into more firmly. Thank you for linking up with Winsome Wednesday and I hope anyone out there who links up who needs to read this, I pray God leads them here
I loved your post! I have been focusing on my marriage recently and trying to pour love into it. I would add a bullet point to your post, but have no scripture to back it up.
Always touch his feet with your toes as your are falling asleep, no matter how the day has gone.
I’ve been trying this and I love it!
Thanks for inspiring!
Thanks for the welcome, Jen! You are definitely right about not having to formulate our walls because of Him! Thanks for stopping by.
Oh so sweet Tracy! Your comment ministered to my soul. 🙂
Thanks for hosting the linkup and for posting my buttons on your site to spread the word! Yes, a cyber-friendship sounds wonderful. We will have to connect some more.
I am so glad my post blessed you…
and the foot thing is too cute. You must have physical touch as your love language. 🙂
Thanks Dolly, you are right about the build-up!
[…] to resolve conflict in a godly […]
Thank you for posting this Jolene! This is the first time I have come across your blog, but but very good timing in my life to come across it! I desire to be a Godly and submissive woman who makes it easy for my husband to love me, and fulfill His God-given role! I will have to check into more of your articles. Again thank you for not being afraid to speak about being a submissive and Godly woman in a culture that promotes everything but this!! Blessings!
Jolene, this is great advice. Thank you for reminding us of some of the things we should and should not do when we’re angry. One of the “rules” that my wife and I made for our marriage years ago was that we would not talk about our disagreements/arguments with anyone else until we had at least discussed it again together. That way our families and friends wouldn’t “take sides” and we wouldn’t say things to them that we would later regret. It has been wonderful for our marriage and has brought us together because there is no one else to talk to about it. 🙂 Thanks again for the reminders!
One of the best pieces of advice we received in pre-marital counseling was to never have weighty conversations at night. When we’re tired we are not as patient so he reasoned it’s not a good time to have those conversations. He told us to just let it go for the night and pick it up in the morning. The funny thing is rest is a beautiful thing. Something that may have bothered me at 10pm all of a sudden doesn’t matter 8 hours later when I’m waking up.
Thank you Jolene for these sound biblical guidelines for marriage. I really appreciate your blog and all you share about marriage. Thanks for hosting today.
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