Do you have an “evil for evil” relationship with your spouse? Or, when they are inconsiderate, rude, selfish—do you respond to their words and behavior by giving them a blessing?
When your spouse doesn’t put away the items they’ve been using or makes you late for a meeting by not being ready to leave the house on time—again—your human nature may tell you that you are completely within your rights to display your anger or discontent by sniping at them or putting them down:
“I am SO TIRED of being LATE for EVERY EVENT we go to!”
“Your side of our bedroom looks like one of the Slob Sisters lives there.”
As you might imagine, this is probably not the best way to change your spouse’s behavior, or get the day on a better track, or make your spouse feel loving toward you. It almost invites an escalation in the conflict.
Try A More Positive Approach
One of my favorite verses, I Peter 3:9, makes a recommendation. That verse says: “. . . not returning evil for evil or insult for insult but giving a blessing instead.” It is not normal for us to give a blessing after someone has just insulted us or done something “evil.” But how do you think the atmosphere might change if you responded with a blessing?
“I’m trying to get these bills in the mail and you NEVER leave the postage stamps in the stationery drawer. Where are they THIS TIME?”
“I’m sorry. That’s got to be frustrating and my goal is never to frustrate you. May I help you look?”
This is a more positive approach. The end of I Peter 3:9 says: “for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.” This gives hope. Respond with grace even though you just thought up the most incredible, sarcastic zinger—and you are setting yourself up to “inherit a blessing.” That’s worth trying, isn’t it?
I love Gary Overholt’s “Exception Test.” It works like this: Take a passage of Scripture. Read it, inserting the phrase, “except for my husband” [or wife]. If the passage still makes sense, you don’t have to do what it says; you get an exception. (Overholt, Blueprint for Marriage, page 19.)
If you add an exception clause to I Peter 3:9 it might look something like this: “. . . not returning evil for evil or insult for insult—unless my husband says something that really hurts my feelings which gives me the right to hurt his feelings back—but giving a blessing instead.” It doesn’t make any sense! And, if it doesn’t make any sense, just do what the Bible says in the original version.
Don’t get stuck in an evil for evil marriage. Ask for God’s help to step past the rude words or inconsiderate treatment and be the one to give your spouse a blessing instead.