“I’ll get him for doing this,” you say.
“I’ll teach her a lesson she won’t soon forget!”
Whether it’s forgetting an anniversary or flirting with your best friend, we are tempted to repay evil with evil.
There is a big problem with doing this. I had the privilege of auditing a class for mediators and attorneys who represent their clients’ mediations. Panelist Doug Noll explained that parties in conflict want vengeance. As they focus on getting vengeance, their brain emits dopamine causing them to experience pleasure. Just thinking about getting back at the person who wronged them makes them feel good. Here’s the problem: as soon as they exact vengeance, the dopamine drip stops. They don’t feel pleasure anymore.
The same principles and processes are at work when you’re angry at your spouse. Teaching them a lesson they’ll never forget seems like a good idea when you’re mad. Mentally dwelling on the details of how you do it may make you feel better – temporarily. Don’t give in to temptation. That is a surefire plan for making the situation worse.
Instead, let God be in charge of doling out consequences. Romans 12:19 admonishes us: “Never take your own revenge beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay says the Lord.’”
Take the advice of I Peter 3:9 which tells us not to return evil for evil or insult for insult, but to give a blessing instead.
If you’re like me, this will not be your natural tendency. However, it will be the best course of action in resolving the conflict and, in the long-run, it will be the best thing you can do for your marriage.