‘A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.’ Proverbs 15:1 NLT
Even in the best of marriages arguments will arise from time to time. With two people of differing temperaments, tastes, and ways of thinking, how could it be otherwise? So here are a few rules of engagement:
(1) Think before you speak. Ask yourself if fear, stress, or worry may have provoked your mate’s response. Is it bothering you right now because you are feeling insecure and unappreciated? Could you be misreading or exaggerating the problem? Take time to try and identify what’s really happening.
(2) Ask for what you need. It’s ok to admit that some days you are needier than others. When a woman feels panicked every time her husband comes home late because her father did the same and was having an affair, it’s ok to say, ‘I know it’s irrational, but I’m having a panicky day.’ That kind of honesty strengthens a relationship.
(3) Never threaten. Threats just make your mate defensive and insecure. As a result, they can’t hear what you’re saying and nothing gets resolved.
(4) Ditch the baggage from previous relationships. The Bible says, ‘Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.’ (1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT) It’s wrong to make your mate keep ‘proving’ themselves over and over again. Don’t assume that old relationship problems are destined to keep repeating themselves. They won’t if you’re communicating and growing.
(5) Say something nice to your mate every day. Any time you think something good about your spouse, stop and tell them. And when they reciprocate, respond graciously to what they’re saying. Remember, sharp words can create wounds, but ‘a gentle answer deflects anger’.