Don’t allow Bitterness to Grow In Your Marriage {the absolute necessity of cleaning wounds}

Don’t allow Bitterness to Grow In Your Marriage {the absolute necessity of cleaning wounds}
April 25, 2015 Matthew L. Jacobson

Young Couple Walking at the Beach While Holding Hands

Like dangerous, infected wounds, the worst situations, deepest problems, and harshest conflicts often start out very small. How did they become so big . . . so destructive? How did our marriage get to this place? 

You would have thought I’d been bitten by a cobra or by some exotic spider.

Not quite – it was only a small puncture wound from a hawthorn bush I was clearing for an elderly neighbor. No big deal, I told myself, but after a few days a large, hot bump rose on my wrist and two ominous red tracts were making their way up my left arm.

The emergency room doctor took one look and said, “You’re fortunate you came in. On it’s own, this only ends one way.”  Without medical intervention, blood poisoning is a one-way express ticket to eternity.

Such a little wound – so much power to destroy.

The difference between life and death was taking action – doing something about the poisonous wound.

It’s no different with invisible wounds – the injuries that stab from the inside: that sharply selfish act you didn’t see coming, the pointed fangs of a painful put-down, or that series of statements that slice like paper cuts.

Almost everyone has sustained afflictions like this.  What is important is how you treat them.  Perhaps you choose to do nothing at all?  Maybe an infection is beginning to spread?

Like the poison from that puncture wound, toxins from neglected internal wounds of the soul fester just as much. Sooner or later, that venom will overtake you with the intent and power to destroy. The poison of bitterness destroys everything in its path.

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Marriages go down because of the poison – the bitterness – from neglected relational wounds. And, just like my  puncture wound, the difference between life and death is taking action – doing something about the poison.

When we’re offended by something our spouse did, we often want him/her to come our way – to initiate the reconciliation. Seriously, does she not see that I’m peeved/hurt/angry? Is he so blind he can’t see how much he has hurt me?

Jesus disagrees. He teaches that the offended party is the one who should act first. If your brother commits an offense against you, go to him and tell him his fault (Matthew 18:15 MLJV).

Seek out your spouse. Tell him/her what happened that offended you. Many times, these conversations don’t go so well because we pursue them in the flesh rather than being led by the Spirit.  Therefore, approach them with these suggestions in mind:

1)   Pray before you attempt to communicate what’s troubling you, asking God to help you remain in the Spirit and to help your spouse see what you desire to communicate.

2)   Don’t go in expecting to change Him/Her. Changing a person is God’s job, not yours. Purpose to leave your spouse in God’s hands and choose not to react to the response you receive. Ask God to take away the poison you’ve allowed to fester, and to clean your wound with His grace.

3)   Even if there isn’t immediate repentance, remember how much you’ve been forgiven and how patient God is with you. God is at work. Trust Him, stay out of the way, and let Him work . . . which is to say, don’t respond in the flesh when your desired outcome isn’t arriving on your timeline.

Remember God’s words about a man and a woman coming together in marriage . . . The two shall become one flesh? The poison in your life will permeate your marriage and to one degree or another, touch every other relationship you have, as well.

Take action. Do something about that poison in your wound before it destroys you and the people you love.

~Matthew

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8 Comments

  1. Tim 4 months ago

    This is spot on. It’s far too easy to allow the devil to talk us into holding on to bitterness and anger. It’s one of his main weapons in marriages, to use us against each other. Thanks for this thoughtful post!

  2. Evelyn 1 year ago

    This is so hard to do. I am trying, but it takes constant effort, and I am not always (or often) on guard. So many little things and so many reminders. Lately I am increasingly reminded of my own flaws. If I would stop the thoughts when they start it would be easier. But I am trying. Thank you for the wisdom!

  3. Deborah 2 years ago

    Great article…thank you for your wisdom! It’s so true that even seemingly small and “innocent” scratches can morph over time into very painful wounds. Left untended – or worse, added to – a marriage can be on life support in pretty short order.

  4. S 3 years ago

    What if you have forgiven your spouse, he is repentant, but the feelings of sadness, betrayal, and depression are still there?

  5. What a wonderful analogy of the destructiveness of allowing bitterness to take root in our marriages! Thank you for sharing a perfect example of how something seemingly insignificant can be deadly.

    I appreciate you taking the time to share your wisdom and experiences with us, Matthew. May He continue to fill your cup to overflowing!

  6. Charles Specht 3 years ago

    Great article, Matthew. Bitterness is a relationship killer, for sure. It needs to be rooted out or it will fester. Thanks for your great relationship content!

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