Maureen and Blake have been married for five years and face many marriage struggles. They have two kids and a third on the way.
This growing family lives in a modest house owned by the husband’s family, and it’s about to become way too small. They agree they are ready to move, but Maureen is the only one doing anything to move them in that direction. She’s looking at listings and trying to save money for the move. She researches what it’s going to take to get their own home. In her eyes, he is doing nothing to make a move out of this house.
One day Maureen is looking at houses while Blake is playing a video game. Suddenly she is hit with the unfairness of the situation. She loses it with him because she is overwhelmed and stressed out by all the details that are going into this move. She starts yelling at Blake, begging for help, pointing out how she’s doing it all. But she doesn’t stop there. Maureen keeps going letting her anger lead her words and tells Blake, “You aren’t man enough to lead this family.”
Those words feel like a knife to Blake’s ego, and he immediately retaliates. Red-faced, he speaks to her in the same tone of voice she had with him. He calls her degrading names, even though he had never spoken to her that way before.
Maureen is shocked and devastated that he would use words like that to describe her.
Now they’re at an impasse. Neither Blake nor Maureen will apologize because they both feel justified in their reactions.
Is this you?
Marriage struggles like this are far too common. When one spouse feels like the other is not doing their part, the situation can escalate, with each partner trying to outdo the other in making their point.
Do things like this happen in your marriage? Maybe not to the extent that it occurred in the case of Blake and Maureen, but do you quickly respond in anger? Are you insistent on getting your own way? Do you get offended easily and find it hard to forgive?
Unfortunately, in marriage, many people are often selfish, egotistical, and feel entitled to everything they want.
This way of living is the opposite of what Jesus wants from us. In the Sermon on the Mount, He said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)
Cultivating meekness in ourselves is essential to having a successful life and marriage.
What is meekness?
But what does meek mean?
Too many people confuse meek with weak. The two words do sound alike, but they are not the same thing.
The Greek word used in the verse from Matthew is praeis, which gives the essence of someone having mildness, gentleness, and humility.
Someone who is meek is not a doormat. Meek people are humble, gentle, and rely on God for their strength. They are not powerless to do anything, but instead, they have the power, but they choose not to act if they feel like their actions would harm someone else.
The world says that a strong person takes charge. They are self-reliant and independent, and they don’t need help from anyone.
Meek people show strength, but under the control of God’s Holy Spirit. It takes a lot of strength to submit to others, keep your cool, and not erupt when you are upset. That power comes from God.
Meekness in Marriage
Can you see how having meekness could have helped the situation with Maureen and Blake at the beginning of this article? If even one of them had shown self-control and not flown off the handle, they probably wouldn’t be stuck at this impasse they’re facing. Neither one of them has a way out because they feel like they need to save face. And they think, “Besides, I’m right anyway.”
How can you show meekness in your marriage struggles and avoid situations like theirs? First, ask God for it. He will help you be meek in all kinds of struggles and have the peace of God instead of the temporary peace of feeling like you got what you deserved.
When you ask for meekness, these are some of the things you will do in your marriage and in your relationships with other people.
Have realistic expectations
Your spouse isn’t perfect, and neither are you. You are going to accidentally hurt one another, annoy one another through your words and actions. Make sure you look at your spouse through that lens.
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. Mark 10:18
Make Biblical choices
When you feel the need to say or do something to your spouse in retaliation for something they did, stop and think. Ask if what you are about to say or do is Biblical. Would Jesus have reacted in the way you want to?
The more you read and understand God’s word, the better you will be able to apply His principles to your marriage struggles.
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105
Control your emotions
Direct your thoughts away from things that make you angry. If something is making you want to lash out, pray that you can control your feelings. Deal with the situation is a calm, loving way with God’s help.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3
Let the Holy Spirit rule
When you feel attacked or hurt, it is crucial that you work it out with your spouse and not just sweep it under the rug. But when you have that conversation, you must submit to the control of the Holy Spirit.
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Proverbs 27:5
Someone who demonstrates meekness is not interested in getting back at those who hurt them. Even if it seems like they would have the absolute right to do so. They wait patiently before reacting and are not quick to retaliate.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
Stop jumping to conclusions
Your first reaction is not always the right one. Before forming a judgment of a situation, meek people take the time to pray before they make a judgment.
Do not hastily bring into court, for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame? Proverbs 25:8
Does this sound good?
Changing the way you think to a mindset of meekness requires you to renew your mind, as Paul describes in Romans 12:2. Renewing your mind is a simple idea, but not an easy process. It takes time and work.
If you realize that you want to change the way you think and react to those thoughts, you are taking a huge first step toward dealing with your marriage struggles. You may want to consider marriage coaching.
Marriage coaching is not counseling. We don’t dig back into your past any more than necessary. We’re more interested in where you want your marriage to go, and what you can do to get it there.
Our programs are unique for several reasons. One, because we are a team. You meet with both of us, Dan and Tracey, getting insight from the male and female points of view.
Second is the combination of the biblical basis for renewing your mind and the scientific understanding of how your brain changes when you do. You get actionable steps to help you change the way you think and improve your life and marriage. We’ll keep you accountable for those steps too!