God’s word is like a salve that, when applied to the wounds and tension-filled moments we experience in marriage, soothes and heals. But just how do we apply God’s word when hurts come in life and marriage?
Consider this day in the life of my marriage …
I woke up to my husband’s cheerful greeting and warm embrace. He handed me the cup of coffee he had made for me while I was still dozing.
We then made our way downstairs, where we chatted playfully over our breakfast together.
When it was time for us to go our separate ways that day, we grabbed each other’s hands and prayed a short, meaningful prayer together. We then kissed and floated through our respective days—buoyed by our love and joy in marriage.
Does that sound like a day in your life and marriage?
Well, it’s not really how my day goes either. 😉
Sure, there are parts of it that are foundational and true for me—like greeting my spouse warmly and praying together with him before we part for the day.
But mostly, it’s not how our days typically go.
The reason I chose to sound like it was is to make a point about love and how love develops.
[bctt tweet=”Love develops and shines brightest in the crucible of difficulty and stress. #lovewhenitishard #applyGodsword #21daysoflove” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
Sure, I feel loved and show love back to my mate when he is acting perfectly on point. That’s easy to do!
But when it’s harder to love our spouses, you and I are given golden opportunities to stretch and workout our love.
After all …
We feel loved the most when we are hard to love, yet our mates still continue to love us! Agreed?!
And who exemplifies that kind of love the most?
He leads the way by showing love when we were/are unlovely and even reject Him.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” —Romans 5:8 (NIV)
Love bursts out of my chest when I experience God’s deep, sacrificial and unconditional love!
That’s why applying God’s word to tension-filled moments can be so healing and powerful.
[bctt tweet=”You are never more like Christ than when you love your mate when it is hard, even painful. #lovelikeGod #applyGodsWord #21Daysoflove” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
God’s word moves us to live out His love in every kind of situation and challenge in marriage and life.
6 ways to apply God’s Word in marriage, when your mate …
1. Speaks harshly to you.
“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” —Prov. 12:18
The way to apply God’s word in this situation is to “wisely” consider what might bring healing to your mate.
If you look at the conflict from your mate’s vantage point, it will really soften your heart and stir compassion for him/her. Ask God to reveal how your words/actions were like a sword, piercing your mate’s heart. Then use the insights He reveals to you.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” —Prov. 15:1
Responding to harshness with a calm demeanor and gentle words also helps.
A “gentle” way to defuse anger and bring calmness is to ask your mate clarifying, open-ended questions. This lets your mate know you’re really interested in understanding him/her.
2. Neglects to spend time with you.
“Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages.” —Song of Songs 7:11
If your spouse won’t spend time with you, apply God’s word by inviting him/her to a fun getaway. Just be sure it’s full of activities your mate finds fun, rather than dragging them to all your favorite places.
If getting away for a weekend is too difficult, carve out brief moments in your day. Ask your mate to share a highlight from his/her day, then really listen. Make listening to your mate your agenda.
In time, these kinds of winsome acts of love will draw your mate to you. Just don’t give up, but look to God for the strength to start over and over again!
3. Breaks a healthy boundary.
“Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. A rebuke impresses a discerning person more than a hundred lashes a fool.” —Prov. 17:9-10
These two verses might seem disconnected, but I see how they relate to each other. Especially in regards to a boundary that continually goes unheeded.
First, I think this verse reminds us to depersonalize the hurt, especially when our mate (or others) breaks a boundary repeatedly. By that, I mean realize a boundary violation truly does separate close friends. It would in any situation, so feeling offended by this is natural.
Therefore, it does not say something about you necessarily, but rather about your mate’s actions. Use that realization to take some of the sting out.
Secondly, this verse also teaches that “rebuking” your mate when he or she isn’t owning up to his/her part in the problem, will likely not be effective.
Better to use the advice under number one—speaking your truth gently, rather than rebuking. If your mate continues to resist, consider calling in support from those your mate respects to gently confront alongside you.
4. Neglects to affirm you.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” —Luke 6:31
If you want more affirmation from your mate (or anything for that matter), be the one to lead out!
5. Expects too much of you.
“Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, …” —2 Cor. 8:13-14
God is concerned about equality in our relationships. But He comes at it differently than we might. Instead of urging us to stand up for every right we have, God asks us to sacrificially give to fill up what is lacking.
When this turns into enabling or it begins to damage our relationship, we need to follow this truth …
“… For each one should carry their own load.” —Gal. 6:5
In this case, respectfully share your heart—communicating your boundary with love and grace. This likely will involve calling in additional, godly support too, like number 3.
6. Resists God or a deeper walk with Him.
“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” —1 Peter 3:1-2
Even though this passage is about believing wives, the same principle holds true for husbands. As Christ-followers, we need to cooperate with our mates, as well as living pure lives, devoted to God, before them.
This may be the hardest of all the issues mentioned so far to know how to apply. Our hearts ache for our mates to pursue God as much as we do.
Take that energy and use it to live out the specific acts outlined above (1 through 5)—showing how deep and true your love is. #wintheheartofmymate
I’ve provided this prayer for you, if you want God to empower you to apply His word in times of hurt in marriage …
Father, every time my spouse does something that I feel is hurtful, give me the ability to extend Your love to them. You gave Your love and forgiveness to me, not so that I could hoard it to myself, but to give it sacrificially and continuously. For I see how Your love multiplies joy and passion in my life when I share it with others! So the next time my mate hurts me, may I love like You love. May I sacrifice like Jesus sacrificed. May I build a stronger bond in my marriage and evoke a greater feeling of love in my mate’s heart with each act of love I show, especially when tested. Help me to pass each test, just like Christ passed every one for me! In Jesus’ name, amen.
[bctt tweet=”Live out your love in the biblically-anchored ways. Show just how deep and true your love is to your mate. #wintheheartofmymate #21daysoflove #messymarriage” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
Click the following like to read more posts in the 21-Days of Love series. And if you haven’t joined the 21-Days of Love Challenge yet, there’s still time! Check out what you’ll get by joining this challenge through the act of subscribing to my blog (see form below or above) …
As a subscriber to MM and this challenge, you’ll receive a weekly email that includes what’s listed below (if you missed last week’s, you can find it in the MM Subscriber Library!). And if you’re not a subscriber, then sign up below today
- 7 daily prompts/ideas for doing loving acts for your mate each week (21 total for all three weeks)
- 1 brief devotional that you and your mate can discuss during the week (3 total during the 21-Days)
- Bible Study “WORTHY” Method printable.
What verse has brought healing to your heart when you’ve been hurt by your spouse or others?
What is another challenging situation in marriage, not mentioned here, that you would like a Bible verse for?
Here are some lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Literary Musing Mondays, Tea and Word Tuesday, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, Recharge Wednesday, Porch Stories Linkup, Coffee for Your Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Encouraging Word Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Destination Inspiration, Tune in Thursday, Heart Encouragement, Moments of Hope, Grace and Truth, Faith and Friends, Blogger Voices Network, Faith on Fire Friday, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday
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