Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowances for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you.
Defensiveness can make or break a marriage. We can learn a lot about ourselves and our spouse if we analyze our defensive moments. All of us have emotional hot spots. When our spouse says or does certain things that touch on those hot spots, we get defensive—typically because our self-worth has been threatened. Initially, we may not know what these emotional hot spots are. But if we take time to analyze each event, we can get to know them quite well.
Perhaps you find that when your spouse criticizes your driving, you go ballistic. Or when he or she says something about your appearance, you snap. You have discovered hot spots. Don’t ignore them, but let yourself calm down. Then later that week, ask yourself, Why did I get so defensive? Your reaction will almost always be tied to your childhood and your self-esteem. Identify the source, and then share it with your spouse.
A loving partner will choose not to exploit these triggers. As Paul writes in Colossians, we should be kind and compassionate with each other, bearing with each other’s weaknesses. That includes never using your knowledge of your spouse to make him or her miserable. Instead, together you can explore ways of addressing these areas in the future. How can your spouse communicate with you in a way that will not come across as an attack on your self-worth? This kind of thoughtful, compassionate discussion is the road to a growing marriage.
Lord Jesus, thank you for helping my spouse and me understand ourselves and each other better and better. Please help us to use that knowledge wisely, kindly, and in humility. Grant us creativity and wisdom as we try to come up with new ways of talking about some of these hot-button areas. #Amen#Amplified
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