Was it her sharp accusation, the pile of dirty laundry, irresponsibility on his part, or failure to arrive for supper? Whatever indiscretion started the argument, never forget who was behind it...
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion,
seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)
Jeff and I know this to be true because one of the scenarios above was us. Just days ago I received the news we had prayed for and hoped for - no new cancer. But within three hours, the enemy hit. How crazy is that? How could we even entertain a disagreement after praising God for His rich blessings?
That’s the enemy at work. Never underestimate his timing and precision. Maybe you are like us, you just received an answer to prayer. Maybe you were preparing to serve the Lord in some capacity, or maybe you were planning that getaway you’ve needed for so long. Whatever the case, the enemy would love nothing better than to ruin the time of praise, time of service, or time of rest.
All it takes is one disagreement.
Is that true for you? Is that all it takes to ruin something for you and your spouse? Does one harsh word or negligent act destroy the entire day or weekend? If so, we need to change that; we do not have to succumb to the enemy’s tactics. Let’s take control of this battlefield.
Utilize these four steps when the enemy hits.
Use your brain, not your words - That’s right. It might be best to stop talking since we usually don’t speak rationally when we’re upset. Remind yourself, and your spouse, you need to take a break from the conversation. It’s better to take a short break than lose the entire weekend!
Recognize who the enemy is - It’s not your spouse. Ephesians 6:12 strongly states that our enemy is not flesh and blood, but it is spiritual forces of evil. Sometimes that’s hard to remember when we are looking into the eyes of the one who just touched our last nerve. But make it a point to recognize the enemy’s schemes, and remove the daggers in your eyes. Most likely your husband or wife is not intentionally out to ruin your day.
Now use your words, kindly - (We highly recommend beginning with prayer. It corrects our focus.) It’s ok to express your thoughts, in fact, it’s important. Just make sure you don’t judge and point fingers. Keep your conversation to your feelings and your concerns, then listen to your spouse’s side. Even if you never come to a complete agreement on the subject, the health of your relationship is more important than your problems. Sometimes we need to forgive and move on. It doesn’t mean we condone the actions, but we value our marriage and will not allow the enemy to separate us.
If needed, make a plan - Not every disagreement needs future amendments, but some do. (Again, we recommend beginning with prayer.) If so, in the near future, set aside time and discuss several options for solving the issue. Narrow them down one by one together until you reach something both of you can live with. Do not always expect to get your way. It’s not even Biblical. Remember, the goal is to remain a solid team!
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others
more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
Back to our disagreement. It probably took about two hours of Jeff and me using our brain and not our words. But Jeff and I do not like to go to bed upset, so we both voiced our thoughts, apologies were made and accepted, and we let it go. It is very important in this process to voice apologies and to voice the acceptance of them. You might need to make a plan later, but never again will that subject be thrown up again in defense. Never make your spouse afraid that their indiscretion will follow them for eternity!
By the way, it’s so refreshing to wake up the next morning smiling at one another instead of grumbling!
Bring peace quickly back into your relationship,
disconnecting the hold of the enemy in your marriage.
Seeking the Word,
“Strengthen me according to Your Word.”