Fred and Wilma are discouraged. It seems like they can’t talk about anything lately without getting into an argument. Though the topics can be different, it feels like the same fight over and over. They are particularly perplexed how this can happen as they are both Christians and try to pray and have quiet times. Sometimes they admit it feels like they married the wrong person. They may even wonder if this is the marriage God had planned for them.
Does this sound familiar to you? Would you like to break free from this destructive pattern of blame and criticism and experience a pattern of blessing? A key to breaking this cycle is seeing your own brokenness. We are all broken and marriage exposes our brokenness like nothing else. We get into these arguments “over nothing”. Underneath there really is “something” that we rarely really talk about. We want to learn to move from blame to blessing, from distress to comfort to create a safe place for healing and freedom in our marriage.
The following three steps can help you say no to Satan and invite the healing presence of God into your relationship.
- Pause: when you sense the cycle starting to spin, hit the “pause” button on your tongue. Proverbs 10:19 offers this advice:
Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.
How often in the heat of the battle have you said things that you would later regret? When we let our emotions get the best of us, we sin in our anger and give the enemy a foothold in our marriage (Ephesians 4:26-27). Just say no to Satan. Take a timeout. Talk with your spouse about how you can create a “timeout” strategy together.
- Pray: After you have called timeout, use your time for some self-reflection. The enemy will want you to use your time to ruminate on all the things your spouse did or said. However, the path to freedom and love in your marriage is being humble before God and asking Him to show you what is going on in you. Here are some points to consider before the Lord:
- Identify your emotions. What were you feeling?
- Identify the lies/thoughts. What lies are you believing about yourself, your marriage, God?
- Identify the root. Ask the Lord to show you when you experienced these feelings and lies before. Most likely you will identify events in the past where you have experienced emotional wounding.
- Identify your needs. Legitimate needs for love, security, and comfort are under the surface of our cycle.
Take your time at this step. Don’t look for a quick answer. Let God reveal to you what He wants you to know.
- Process: After your timeout, come back together with your partner and process what the Lord is showing you. Without blaming your spouse, talk about your pain, the lies you believe, the wounding you have experienced, and what you need. It is amazing the different kind of conversation you can have by pausing and praying rather than reacting in the emotion of the moment.
You are married to the right person and you can experience marriage the way God has planned for you! Practicing these three steps can help you move your relationship from blame to blessing.