In the middle of a heated argument that had frankly gone way too far, I said, “I hate you!” That phrase stopped us both in our tracks. Literally pumped the breaks on the fight.
A couple of slow blinks and my husband said, “do you mean that?”
Stuttering and blinking back tears I said, “No, of course, I don’t mean that…I’m just so frustrated and angry…I’m not even sure why I would even say that to you…I am sorry…I shouldn’t have said it.”
As Christian women, we’re quick to remind ourselves about being a Proverbs 31 woman. That woman is faithful and expresses reverence towards her husband. She’s strong, charitable, well-rounded, cares for her family, and fears the Lord. That woman does not actively argue in anger with her husband.
Often I think we focus solely on the Proverbs 31 woman and we forget the example in Chapter 2 of Titus. The Titus 2 woman is also a reverent, self-controlled gal who is submissive to her husband. She also trains young women and is a teacher of good things. She is specifically not slanderous. That woman does not tell her husband that she hates him.
My hate-filled declaration during an argument was neither an example of Proverbs 31 or Titus 2. Here, I violated two separate examples that God has given us about how to behave within a marriage. Yet, God gives us other examples of harnessing our anger. In Ephesians 4:31 (NASB) scripture says, “All bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice.”
Why must anger and slander be removed from us? Simply stated, it’s hard, if not impossible, to love as Christ did while harboring anger.
Proverbs 10:12 (NASB) tells us, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.”
Love covers all offenses. Real ones and perceived ones. During a marital spat, I need the reminder that I love this guy I’m married to. He’s not my enemy, rather he’s my teammate and I should be treating him with the respect that is demanded in both Proverbs 31 and Titus 2.
Obviously, this is specific to marriage, but it’s applicable to any relationship where we want to demonstrate the love of the Lord. We would all be better if we could remember the lessons of releasing anger and approaching one another in love.
So on the Hallmark holiday of love, I’ll make the public declaration:
I love you, babe…thanks for putting up with me.