Excerpt from An online Course: Where God builds two hearts a home

He made me so angry! How many times have you heard that phrase? You have probably said it yourself. In reality, you make yourself angry, not any other person. The other person‘s infraction of your ideals is only a trigger (James 3:10-11). If an angry outburst is the result when confronting your spouse‘s failure, it is a clue to your inner motives (Gal 5:22-23).

Failure is a normal part of marriage. We know that we all fail, but when we are faced with our spouse‘s failures every day without improvement, it is easy to become discouraged. Some of the scenarios which depict a spouse’s failure in a marriage relationship are:-

  1. Hostilities: This literally means ―acts of enemies. Because your spouse has failed and perhaps hurt you, you do something to hurt him/her. You are no longer on the same side—you have become your spouse‘s enemy.
  1. Strife: This is discord, arguing. Because your spouse has failed you, you are quick to disagree and argue frequently.
  1. Jealousy: You turn to something or someone else outside the relationship to satisfy your unmet desires. Perhaps you feel jealous and compare your spouse with others whom you feel are doing a better job or have a ‘successful’ life.
  1. Outbursts of anger. An outburst of anger indicates simmering rage just under the surface. You suppress your disappointment with your spouse, but the disappointment is still present. It roils in the pit of your stomach like bad food, waiting for a trigger to come up and spew forth.
  1. Selfish rivalries. Also used in James 3:14, 16. This is the desire to put oneself forward as more important than someone else. In marriage, this might be to say, ‘Fine, if you won‘t take care of my needs, I‘ll just take care of my own needs from now on, and you can take care of yourself.’
  1. Dissensions and factions. This response to your spouse‘s failure looks for companionship in dissatisfaction, perhaps enlisting the children, your relatives, or your friends to side with you against your spouse or against your spouse‘s failure to meet your needs or expectations.
  1. Sexual immorality. Because your spouse does not satisfy your desires, you look with lust at others, perhaps online or in print. You justify yourself because your spouse fails to meet your sexual needs. This may be only mental adultery, but Jesus says it is just as sinful (Mt 5:28).

So, which of these seven responses are sin? Who does God hold responsible for them …the spouse who disappointed the other, thus triggering them or the spouse who reacts in one of the ways above? Even though a spouse may have behaved wickedly or selfishly, you are still responsible to God not to react to sin with more sin.