How Do You Handle Marital Fights? Part 2

This week, as we continue our marriage and family series, Pastor J.D. gives us the second half of his 10 stages of grace-saturated, gospel-centered fighting. He’s joined by his wife, Veronica, for another episode.

Show Notes:

If you missed the first half of this episode, take a look now.

10 Stages in Grace-Saturated, Gospel-Centered Fighting:

6. Believe in God’s purpose for your marriage

  • We knew that God had obviously appointed us to be together even though we felt like we married the wrong person sometimes, and that God had a plan for our difficulties and was making something beautiful out of them! 
  • There is one factor that, if we could introduce it into your marriage, would do more to strengthen it than anything else, and that is hope. 
  • And that hope comes from knowing that God has a plan for your marriage, even the difficult parts of it. He knew whom you were marrying, he knew the consternation they would cause you, and he’s got a plan to make something beautiful out of you and maybe your marriage in it. 
  • Same thing is true for single people. God has a purpose for all things, even the difficult relationship.


7. Speak grace-saturated words

  • If you are speaking words that build up, not tear down:
  • For every one statement about what is wrong, there will be five describing what is right and that paint a vision of the beautiful person God is making them. 
    • You’ll never demean with “you” statements. Calling names: Names make you feel good, quickest way to alienate an enemy… Say, “You did this,” not “You are this”
    • You’ll avoid saying ‘never’ and ‘always.’ You’re always this way or that way. Don’t escalate it beyond the problem. “Never” and “always” basically tell the person that “you are this” and “you stink” rather than “you have done this” and “I expect more from you.” 
    • You’ll avoid being sarcastic (Sarcasm usually functions like a knife. And it’s the quickest way to turn somebody off: Remember: smarty had a party and no one came).
    • Avoid being condescending (to condescend means to talk down to).
  • And women, avoid confronting your husband publicly: 
    • There’s nothing that shuts a man down like having his wife tear him down to someone else.


8. Don’t give up until there is no longer a chance of reconciliation

  • We know divorce is a larger topic, but to just touch on it quickly: we know that God hates it. So do some of you.
    • In most cases, he sees it as adultery.
  • There are exceptions: 
    • Adultery; 1 Corinthians 7 Paul says if you have an unbelieving spouse who leaves you, if you wonder if you fit into that category, see us. 
    • Abuse: We’ve covered this more at-length on Ask Me Anything, but of course you should never stay in an abusive situation and you should reach out and get some help immediately.
  • But the point is that you should give grace a chance
  • Before you give up on your marriage, give the power of grace a chance. 


9. Truly forgive

  • Remember: Forgiveness is a choice not to remember or bring up the offense any longer!
  • Ken Sande: True forgiveness says:  
    • I will not think about this incident.
    • I will not bring it up again or use it against you.
    • I will not talk to others about it.
    • I will not allow it to stand between us or hinder our relationship
    • You have to think of past flaws like they are ammunition already spent.
  • Never get “historical” in an argument. “My wife gets mad and goes historical.”

Forgiveness should never be conditional upon their repentance.

  • “Well, I’d forgive them if they’d ask for it.”
  • Don’t confuse forgiveness with reconciliation. Reconciliation takes two people: the person who sinned has to repent and you have to forgive. 
  • But forgiveness only takes one person. You can forgive without reconciling. Don’t wait on the person to repent before you forgive. 
  • The only alternative to forgiveness is bitterness, which is like trying to punish the other person by drinking poison yourself.


10. Remember what Jesus did for you

  • The only way to do all of this is for the cross to grow LARGE in your life. That’s why some people lack the ability to do this – the cross is so small.
    • If you do things as an act of service for your spouse, you will lose motivation. You have to do it for Jesus. Your spouse may not be worth it. Jesus always is. 
  • Maybe you say, “Oh, Pastor J.D., I really wish my spouse were here to hear this but it’s just me…” What can I do? They won’t respond to any of this! Do it for Jesus.
  • Maybe this is how you will demonstrate the glory of Christ to your neighbors: by serving Christ even when there is no pay-off in your marriage, simply because he’s worthy of it!


Want to ask J.D. a question? Head to our Ask Me Anything hub to submit your question.

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