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Moving forward: 3 healthy responses to offense in marriage


Offenses don’t just happen in your marriage; offenses occur in all marriages. You are not alone.

But how do you respond?

Are you the angry wife? You know, the one who stomps around your home angrily cleaning hoping your spouse will get the hint.

Are you the dangerous wife? The one who uses offense as ammo, shooting down any attempt of intimacy.

Are you the controlling wife? The one who refuses to do anything or give anything unless everything goes your way.

Are you the loving wife? Oh, she’s the one we all want to be. Of course, we all want to think we are the loving wife, but learning how to navigate through offense can be rather challenging.

Let’s be honest. Words wound, disappointments pierce your heart, and unmet expectations hurt intimacy. Offenses just feel yucky.

Thankfully, we don’t have to stay there.

So, when the offense happens (and it will), we can learn to respond with the three P method: Pause, Pray, Practice.

Pause

Pause before you speak.

Anytime we experience offense in marriage, words can be carelessly spoken, and walls can be built around our hearts. We allow small moments of irritation to become big explosions of anger. Before you find yourself there, PAUSE.

Proverbs 17: 14 “The start of a quarrel is like a leak in a dam, so stop it before it starts.”

Pausing is a sign of self-control and maturity. When we walk in self-control, we have time to recognize the offense, time to acknowledge our emotions, and time to reflect on how we can respond in love. We get to stop the fight, the irritation, or the separation before it even starts. In the pausing, before we speak, we can take time to reflect, asking ourselves some hard questions.

  • Why am I offended?
  • Did my spouse trigger an old wound?
  • Am I over-reacting or taking things too personally?
  • What is a healthy solution for moving forward in the future?

In the pausing, we can turn our walls of offense into an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to give us revelation.

Proverbs 19:11: Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.


Pray

Pray regularly

Taking time to pause before you speak allows you the time and space needed to go to God in prayer. When we walk in offense, it’s easy to turn our sight on the wrongs of our spouse. We see what they failed to do, the ball they dropped, the groceries they forgot, or the compliment they didn’t give. The one moment becomes added to the multitude of ways our spouses have shown their frailties.

Praying allows us the time to seek God for clarity, peace, and direction. When we pray, we allow our hearts to be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We learn how to lay aside our pride for love. We are led how to dig deeper instead of disconnecting. We clearly see the battle is not with our spouse, but with an enemy who seeks to destroy our homes and our family. Prayer is the way we fight for our marriages.

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Practice

Practice showing grace and forgiveness OFTEN.

When we hold on to anger, we allow resentment to build a wedge in our marriages. Then just like that we’re using words as weapons and withholding sex and affection preventing real intimacy and fellowship. Instead of cultivating love, we use tactics of manipulation, causing our spouses to feel shame, guilt, and anger. Once we step into the offensive zone, we lose sight of extending the grace Christ so freely gives to us.

Practicing showing grace and forgiveness often to our spouses is easy to do when we stop to remember all Christ has done for us. When we start to take for granted the grace God has freely given to us, we begin to move in critical, judgmental ways. Friend, this is a dangerous place. Instead, always remember how much Christ showers His love and grace upon you DAILY. Your gratitude will create an overflow of love and grace for others around you.

You don’t need to address every action. You don’t need to have a conversation about every incident. Ask yourself, do you want to be right, or do you want to imitate Christ? If we’re going to walk in daily fellowship and intimacy with our spouses, then grace and forgiveness must be our language and our way of living. Choose to forgive and let things go.


In most relationships, our spouses don’t wake up intending to offend us, but life happens. Stress, frustrations and unmet expectations show up in unplanned ways shining a light on cracks in our marriages. Areas the enemy would love to use to create discord. Just remember, you are addressing the offense not attacking the person. You and your spouse are one unit.

Sign up here to receive your own 20 days to a healthy marriage.

Remember, don’t be afraid to reach out for help from your church pastoral staff or a licensed marriage counselor for additional support. Your marriage matters.

Cheering you on,

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31 comments on “Moving forward: 3 healthy responses to offense in marriage

  1. Mindful Mama Health

    Thank you for this inspiring read! It is so easy to get sucked into the small day to day offenses. I would love to think I’m a loving wife, but I know that is not always true. I can sometimes feel the wall I start to build up from small incidents over time. I will try to implement the 3 P’s in my marriage.

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Yay!!! Learning how to pause, pray and practice take discipline for sure when dealing with offense.

  2. Thank you for this! I pretty sure I am all three of those “wives” at times. I need to be better at thinking before I say something I will later regret. Only God can help! Thanks for the reminder.

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Going to God to guide me in marriage is one of the best decisions I can make.

  3. Pausing is what I always have the hardest thing doing. I need to put more practice into this, especially during these times.

  4. What a great read. It’s so true and our reactions to things is something we continually have to pay attention to and work on.

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Yes! The only person we can control is ourselves.

  5. Such great tips because you are right all relationships will have multiple times to implement this. My favorite is pausing I definitely need to do that more.

  6. I think pausing is my biggest challenge! Thanks for a great post for how to properly respond to offenses in marriage.

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Pausing is a big one for most of us in the heat of the moment. It’s can be challenging to not be defensive.

  7. Kristen

    Thank you for these marriage tips!

  8. Great advice…something I should think about, not just in my marriage, but all relationships,,,thanks for sharing!

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Yes, offense does indeed happen in all relationships.

  9. I’m not super religious, but I will agree with other points. So many of us were never taught how to regulate our emotions as kids and it shows, often in the worst ways, as adults. We tend to get upset over the littlest things, it doesn’t take much to reach our breaking points. That kind of programming is hard to beat, but the first step is realizing you want to make a change. I catch myself more often now before the rage hits and I can calm down, think more logically, and have a better conversation that solves a problem rather than a yelling match.

  10. Lovely post! I enjoyed reading your tips, it is so important to look in another way to all the things

  11. mamawritesreviews

    This is applicable to all relationships! I need to apply some of these tips to some of my friendships!

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Oh, yes! We can definitely use any of these tips for our relationships.

  12. Amy Irvin

    I love this post. Thanks so much. I am sort of passive, so I tend to brood and just feel hurt. For a long time.

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Amy you are not alone. Conflict is uncomfortable for a lot of people and we respond in different ways. It’s important we all learn how to communicate in a healthy way both internally and with others.

  13. I just literally yelled at my husband a few minutes ago. We don’t fight very often, but I do get pretty crabby with him. We just celebrated our ten year anniversary though. God is good.

  14. It is good to be more thoughtful in our relationships. I think it is too easy to be too comfortable in our lives and not think as much about our actions.

  15. This post is raw and really challenges me! I like the fact that you talk about the not so pretty side of marriage like the conflict but always ways to work through it! Lovely blog in general too!!

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Oh thank you! Marriage is beautiful, but the messy parts can get kinda tricky. Important to talk about it.

  16. Kristen Still

    Thanks for sharing these steps to finding a healthy solution!

  17. I am so glad you shared this. This is all such great information for any marriage. As you said, offense happens in all marriage. Great post!

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Yep, learning how to handle it in a healthy way makes all the difference when offense happens.

  18. cleanlivingwithkidssa

    Thank you so much for your suggestions! I definitely need to practice grace and the pause better.

  19. Brittany Stein

    This is very helpful as I tend to get pretty defensive when my husband brings up any little imperfection of mine. I need to work on it, as I know I am not perfect and want to make him happy!

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