How do you respond when your spouse does or says something hurtful? It is not uncommon in marriage for hurtful moments to occur. Dr. Edward and Beth Sri share some helpful advice on how to respond to such moments.
Snippet from the Show
Speaking words of forgiveness is an act of the will.
Dr. Edward and Beth Sri are excited to share their new book which is available for pre-order now!
Enjoy a short excerpt from the book below:
Our love, however, is tested the most when our spouse hurts us. In those moments, we can be tempted to dwell on the hurt. We can complain about our spouse: “Why is she always like this?” We can start to keep score: “That’s the fifth time he forgot to say thank you today.” We can become defensive: “But she started it!” We can hold back in our relationship: “I’d better not bring up that topic ever again.”
Those condemning stories we tell ourselves about our spouse are usually not from God. Remember, it’s the Devil who wants to divide our marriage. And he’ll use the countless miscommunications, misunderstandings, missteps, and especially hurts that come up in our marriages to get us to dwell on our beloved’s faults and build a wall of resentment. It’s easy, after all, to love our spouse when he or she is fun, in a good mood, and makes us feel good. But the true colors of our marriage come out when we are hurt by our beloved. In those painful moments, will we still love our spouse, or will we withdraw our love?
And now we come to the key insight from St. John Paul II. He challenged spouses to love each other in this way: “Love the person complete with all his or her virtues and faults, and up to a point independently of those virtues and faults and in spite of those faults.” This, of course, does not mean that we turn a blind eye to our beloved’s behavior when they are having a not-so-beautiful moment. But we do not let their actions in that circumstance completely define them or divide our spousal relationship. As St. John Paul II explains,
The strength of such a love emerges most clearly when the beloved
person stumbles, when his or her weaknesses or even sins come into
the open. One who truly loves does not then withdraw his love, but loves
all the more, loves in full consciousness of the other’s shortcomings and
faults, and without in the least approving of them. For the person as such
never loses its essential value. The emotion which attaches itself to the
value of the person remains loyal to the human being.
Edward: To fully appreciate what John Paul II is getting at, let’s go back to that evening in the kitchen when I spoke those unkind words to Beth. Think of all the different ways she could have responded to me. She could have yelled at me, “Why do you always say things like that!” She could have stormed out of the kitchen in anger. She could have thrown the can at me! Even worse, she could have given me the silent treatment and pretended as if I were not there for the rest of the night. But instead, Beth chose to pose her pointed question: “You didn’t really mean that, did you?” Notice how she didn’t ignore what I had done. She didn’t look at me and say, “I just love it when you say hurtful things!” Nor did she shrug it off and pretend it wasn’t a big deal. It was a big deal. I hurt her, and I deserved to be called out on it. But she did it in the best way possible. She addressed the issue in a way that didn’t make me defensive. She didn’t ascribe motives or assume the worst of intentions: “He’s always so selfish and inconsiderate!” Rather, even though I had done something wrong, she didn’t judge my heart. And she did not withdraw her love. She knew I was probably already feeling badly about what I had said. Her firm—but noncondemning—challenge gave me the space to do the right thing, admit I was wrong and say sorry.
3 Things to Have Total Acceptance of Your Spouse
- Have a Jane Bennett attitude. Assume that your spouse’s intentions were positive.
- Remember that when they do something hurtful, it does not do them justice.
- Remember the things you are thankful for in your spouse.
- Visit Dr. Sri’s website at www.edwardsri.com and to book online events with Dr. Sri email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Find more of Dr. Sri’s episodes at www.ascensionpress.com/allthingscatholic
- Ascension is pleased to offer our new and improved online bible study programs and sacramental preparation programs digitally to help you minister with flexibility. Go to www.ascensionpress.com to view all our offerings
Dr. Edward Sri is a theologian, well-known Catholic speaker, and author of several best-selling books. His work with Ascension includes study programs such as A Biblical Walk Through the Mass, No Greater Love: A Biblical Walk Through Christ’s Passion and Mary: A Biblical Walk with the Blessed Mother. Several of Dr. Sri’s programs were filmed on-site in the Holy Land, and feature immersive video explorations of the sacred sites where Jesus, Mary, and the Apostles lived and died.
Dr. Sri is the host of the acclaimed Ascension podcast All Things Catholic with Dr. Edward Sri. Together with Curtis Martin, Dr. Sri is a founding leader of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), of which he serves as senior vice president of Apostolic Outreach.
Dr. Sri lives with his wife Beth and their children in Colorado.