ephesians 426

A popular bridal shower activity is to advise the soon-to-be wife on how to make your marriage work for a lifetime. A famous piece of advice is to not go to bed angry at each other. However, this idea comes from the Bible. Ephesians 4:26 tells us not to anger in our sins and not to let the sun go down while we’re still angry. This section of Scripture is a list that gives early believers instructions for Christian living. The verses also highlight the need not to steal, be honest, work hard, avoid unwholesome talk, be kind, avoid anger, offer forgiveness and show compassion.

This beautiful list helps us understand the Christian life that Jesus wants us to pursue. These words also offer excellent advice on how to be a loving spouse. Dishonesty, anger, unkind words, unforgiveness, rage, and a lack of compassion all have the power to destroy our relationships. We need the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives to live this way. Is it okay then to wait until the morning to work through your anger when conflict comes about in your marriage? For example, you may be married to someone who’s expressed that if they get angry in a conversation, it’s best to table it and revisit it later.

If you’re big on emotions, you might have issues stepping away from conflict. You’ll have to compromise how you handle disagreements, and it’ll be a work in progress for you. Here are some ideas on how you can handle conflict in your marriage biblically.

Agree to take some time away from the disagreement.

Sometimes, you’ll find yourself in a very heated discussion, and it can feel like there’s no way out of this tense discussion, which can lead to conflict escalation and often doesn’t lead to a good place. However, if you’re the one who likes to hash things out, you’ll need to know that you’ll take up the subject again and not brush it off because it feels too hard to discuss. A good way to de-escalate a heated discussion that has your blood boiling is to choose to table the topic until an agreed-upon time that you’ll revisit the conversation.

Stepping back can give you the opportunity to control your emotions better. Once you have that fight or flight response in a situation, logic is no longer heard, and emotions rule the interaction. It would be best if you didn’t wait until you’re in the middle of an argument to say you need a break. Stepping away during the fight without communicating can feel like abandonment or avoidance, which can make things worse. If you feel yourself getting upset, choose a way that works for you to state you need a break calmly. Don’t storm off.

To the point from Ephesians 4:26 that we shouldn’t let the sun go down on our anger, we shouldn’t let these arguments go on without resolving the issue. Our relationships are the most important thing we have in this life, and making sure we’re living in unity with each other should be a top priority.

Concentrate on improving your communication skills.

Fostering positive communication skills in your marriage looks like trying to live out the fruits of the spirit. We have to practice these skills daily before conflict comes about so we’re better able to de-escalate fights when they occur. Some helpful phrases that can help you express yourself to help diffuse tense conversations include “I feel statements,” “I should calm down” statements, “I appreciate” statements and “I’m sorry” statements. When we use “I” instead of “you” in a challenging moment, it helps us avoid placing blame on our partner when we’re trying to communicate a situation that we’re feeling concerned about.

Blame statements and words like “never” or “always” can very quickly add fuel to the fire. Conflict is bound to happen when combining the lives of two people, but being prepared for the ideal way to speak to each other when these situations occur can help us avoid letting anger and bitterness grow in marriage. When we let anger grow, we give the devil a foothold to tear apart our homes slowly.

Work on empathizing with your spouse.

Conflict ensues when we feel attacked by our partner. Our anger grows because we feel hurt, threatened, or unseen by our partner. Empathy helps us set aside our feelings for a moment to hear and see our spouse’s position. When you feel your blood pressure rising because of something your spouse has said or done, take a deep breath and pause to understand how they’re feeling at that moment. What is it that they genuinely are trying to express to you? Is their snippy tone due to them being exhausted or stressed? Can you respond by asking them how they’re doing instead of responding in kind? Empathy helps us see past our hurt feelings and into what the issue truly is at that moment.

Most of the time, there’s nothing you and your spouse have fought about that was worth being so upset about. These horrible fights have really resulted from worry, exhaustion, stress, anxiety, carelessness, or disconnection. If one of you could see the other in these moments, these fights could’ve been resolved. If one of you had been willing to lay down your right to be offended and ask about how the other was doing, the fight would’ve never happened. Our pride can make living in unity difficult. You can apply Ephesians 4 to your marriage in one critical way: you should never let bitterness and anger grow in your hearts toward each other.

If you decide to make up before bed or discuss things first thing in the morning, what matters most is that you don’t let angry moments or conflict steal the joy and connection from your union. The unity that’s supposed to define your marriage relationships can’t thrive when unforgiveness, anger, unkindness, dishonesty, and unrighteous living go unimpeded in our lives. Christian living and the Holy Spirit’s gracious power at work in our lives is what it takes to make a marriage work.

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