Marital Distance

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Dear Mentor,


My husband and I have fallen into a bad cycle of relating. I tend to sin when I am sinned against. When he is angry or frustrated, it hurts and I respond in anger, coldness, and distance. I prolong the bad situation even after he is ready to reconcile. How do I get off this ferris wheel?


                                                     Signed, Needing Change



Dear Needing Change,


You have zeroed in on a key issue – sinning when being sinned against. This is a problem in so many situations.


It’s the very thing we teach our children. “Just because she hit you doesn’t mean you can bite her.” In order for you to have authority in discipling your children in this area, you will have to be under the Lord’s authority here yourself.


When your husband is angry or frustrated, nothing within you may want to be patient with him. But, when you realize that your response is influencing your children’s behavior, you will be more likely to think twice about your impatience toward your husband.


As women, we often feel that since our husband “is the spiritual leader, he should be the one to turn our marriage around.” Yet, the Father always seeks change on a personal basis. If you feel the thorn, the irritation has to be picked out of your own flesh. We are told specifically, “even if any of your husbands are disobedient to the Word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior” (1 Peter 3:1-2). (Rats!)


You have recognized your part of the sin: your own response in anger, coldness and distance. Start there. Take your eyes off of your husband’s speck of anger and direct them onto your own log of the same (Matthew 7:3-5). “By your standard of measure, it shall be measured to you” (Matthew 7:2).


Practically, begin a daily prayer that goes something like this: “Father, whenever I feel my husband’s frustration today, I ask that You to remind me of my own tendency toward anger and distance. Open my eyes to see my sin is just as saddening to You as his. I give You authority to show me Your truth today, and to begin dealing with me first.”


Submission to purity has already been loosed in heaven. Let’s go together in prayer and allow it to be loosed within you, what do you say (Mathew 18:18)?


                                                   Signed, Your Mentor