There really is no place for prolonged anger in a Christian marriage when believers learn how to apply biblical principles. Anger is a strong feeling of displeasure synonymous with wrath, rage, fury, ire or indignation. But, the Bible admonishes, "Be ye angry, but sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath" (Ephesians 4:26). As Christian couples mature in Christ, feelings of wrath, rage or fury should dissipate and the fruit, or nature, of the Holy Spirit supersedes that of the carnal man. Notice, Ephesians 4:26 did not say believers are not to get angry because ire is part of human nature. But expressing strong displeasure should be short lived, dealt with in a Christ-like manner and forgotten, preferably before the end of the day! Anger in a Christian marriage should be avoided, as prolonged wrath can destroy marital harmony as much as an act of infidelity. Couples should refrain from going to bed upset; and each day should be viewed as a new beginning with no residue of negativity from the previous twenty-four hours.
When sustained, anger can escalate into bitterness, resentment and retaliation. But holding onto anger in a Christian marriage only gives place to satan to steal marital harmony, kill natural affection, and destroy a union from the inside out. If anyone asked either spouse what caused the rift, neither would be able to pinpoint its origin. Some husbands and wives wage cold wars and refuse to let go of wrath or hurt feelings. They live in the same house, sleep in the same bed, eat at the same dinner table, ride in the same car, and attend the same church; but within there is a silent, seething rage that hinders the couple from moving forward into marital bliss. Each spouse loves God and professes to be born again, but they forget that charity, or love, must start in Jerusalem and then spread abroad. Genuine love is suppressed as anger in a Christian marriage pervades every aspect of an otherwise happy home. Disappointment, resentment, and fury lie just beneath the surface of sanctimonious smiles and vain gestures. Some husbands and wives caught up in the downward spiral of unresolved anger keep an imaginary scoreboard of bitterness, chalking up each transgression added to a laundry list of sins not forgotten nor forgiven. Bible-believing mates can sometimes hold one another hostage over the past, preferring to cleave to a single mistake rather than cleave to each other.
Unresolved anger in a Christian marriage can turn a home from a haven to hell on earth. Unbeknownst to husbands and wives, the disharmony and disunity caused by mates who refuse to agree can destroy peace throughout a household. Over time, a spirit of discord will have children fighting amongst each other, mimicking the parents' behavior and causing the entire atmosphere to become distasteful. Lurking beneath a facade of a happy home life, a dark, sullen spirit of division prohibits reconciliation. The vicious cycle of persistent anger, bitterness, resentment and retaliation can continue for decades unless God intervenes. Children growing up in an unhappy home full of anger will likely marry and repeat that same pattern. "But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work" (James 3:14-16).
To eradicate anger in a Christian marriage, couples should first try to pinpoint the cause of prolonged wrath, and discover when the conflict first began. Was it over some major disagreement or was it a minor rift? Sitting down and reasoning together as each partner shares from the heart may start the process of ridding the marriage of resentment and re-opening lines of communication. If the origin of marital conflict eludes the couple, the best recourse is to declare old misunderstandings null and void. Husbands and wives, especially Christians, should be able to forgive, forget and "bury the hatchet!" To declare past deeds dead and gone, couples may make a list of every transgression, real or imagined. Fold the list and place it inside a small box. Seal the box and together, declare that every deed written on the list is now dead. Husbands and wives should then pray and ask God to not only remove the bitterness, but take away the remembrance of hurt feelings and heavy hearts. Next, take the little box full of secret faults and bury it in an unmarked "grave" in the backyard. With the past buried, partners can begin anew in harmony.
As anger in a Christian marriage dissipates, couples must be determined never to mention anything that has already been forgiven and buried! If a distasteful subject comes up, each spouse should be held accountable to remind one another, "Oh, that has already been buried; it is dead!" " But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace" (James 1:17-18). As husbands and wives diligently avoid anger in a Christian marriage, each day will be welcomed as a new beginning and another opportunity to love, cherish, and honor one another. By constantly practicing forgiveness, husbands and wives can hope to live a life free of marital discord in an environment which fosters peace, unity and love. Children will see an example of a loving couple who not only believe the Bible but also live it day by day. A nurturing atmosphere free from fault-finding, resentment, and retaliation can provide the foundation from which generations shall rise up and call their God-centered home blessed.
Forgiveness In MarriageForgiveness in Marriage requires courage, the willingness to forget, and doing so provides health benefits. Holding on to unforgiveness can rob a person of joy. Unforgiveness can lead to bitterness. Bitterness can lead to hatred, vindictiveness, and arrogance. These are sinful attitudes that can hurt one's relationship with God. They can drive loved ones away. Giving place to sinful attitudes can eventually lead to health problems. Forgiveness in marriage should be automatic and unconditional. A relationship cannot survive when a spouse makes a decision to hold unforgiveness in the heart. It is a choice that can have huge repercussions. The offended spouse may use the sin against the partner whenever there is an occasion. The first step is in making the decision to forgive. Giving up the bad feelings to the Lord and asking Him to help to soften your heart is the next step. Then talking with the offender and giving him or her opportunity to repent is the third step. "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me" (Acts 26:18).
Expecting the offending spouse to repent might lead to disappointment. Give the situation some time and perhaps your willingness to forgive will help to soften the partner's heart. Forgiveness in marriage should be automatic and unconditional. God's forgiveness is not based upon conditions. He sent His only Son to die for every sinner so that everyone who receives Him can have the opportunity to have eternal life, a gift. If He can forgive us without any strings attached then why can't we do the same? One might say that it depends upon the wrong that has been done. Infidelity is just too painful to forgive. Well, God did not put restrictions on forgiveness when He forgave us.
When a partner chooses to harbor bad feelings towards a spouse they are hurting self more than anyone else. Bad feelings and unforgiveness takes a lot of energy. Choosing to concentrate on negative things uses brain power and can eventually lead to physical, mental, and spiritual problems. Forgiveness in marriage can set a person free. Letting go of the pain and the negativity allows love and joy to reign in one's life. After letting go of the offence remember to never bring it up again. Do not let it occupy mental space. When the temptation comes force the thoughts out of your mind and concentrate on positive thoughts. Think about all the good times with a partner and what there is to be thankful for.
The key message of the cross is forgiveness. Any Christian who can not seem to find it in his or her heart to forgive may not really understand this message. Christ tells us we should be willing to forgive someone 490 times (Matthew 18: 21-22). When one begins to understand the marvelous grace of God then how can forgiveness in marriage be difficult? Concentrating on the important things and forgetting all the small stuff will lead someone to the message of the cross. Learn to let go of all the minor hurts and errors made by others. Understand that the big issue is accepting Christ as Savior and putting God first. Beside this, nothing is really that important!
When a partner learns how to let go of the small stuff then when something big happens she will find it much easier to experience forgiveness in marriage. Sometimes there are some pretty big offenses that take place between spouses. Infidelity, lies, stealing, are difficult offenses to let go of. When trust issues take place a relationship is going to suffer. The spouse who caused the issues needs to seek God for healing. Repair of the relationship may need intervention. Counseling and going on a couple's retreat are positive ways to start the healing process. Be faithful to go to church, repent of the sins, and look to God for complete restoration. This may take time so be determined to do the right thing.
Dealing with the bad habits of a spouse can be trying at times. Communication is a tool that one can use to resolve the problems associated with irritating behavior. Becoming hard-hearted and not talking about what bothers you will only serve to hurt and maybe even destroy a relationship. Forgiveness in marriage is about working continuously to help one another. Maybe a partner does not realize how much his or her bad habits bother you. Partners really do need to keep the lines of communication flowing. There are always going to be irritations and little problems that pop up here and there. If a partner is scared to communicate because her spouse has a bad temper then that's another matter altogether.
Dealing with a spouse who is manipulative and angers easily can be a difficult situation. Some adults continue to act like children even after they're grown. They throw little fits when things do not go their way and they make the family afraid. Forgiveness in marriage is one thing but having to deal with someone who has ongoing behavior problems is something else. Certainly, you can forgive him or her but do not condone the behavior. This is unhealthy for the entire family to live in a home where there is constant strife. Ask the spouse with the behavior problems to get counseling. If that does not work then you must find a way to change the situation. Prayer, talking to a pastor, getting counseling, and finding a mediator, are all possible solutions.