Learning to Turn the Other Cheek in Marriage
By Lynette Kittle
“If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them” - Matthew 5:39
Unlike Matthew 5:39, an offense by a spouse may not be as simple as them taking a coat away or a literal slap on the face. For couples where one spouse has deeply hurt the other, the road to recovery can be long and difficult. Forgiveness may often seem unattainable and restoration impossible.
Still, God urges us to, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).
Frequently, because of expectations and past hurts, what spouses may be willing to forgive and overlook with a neighbor, coworker, family member, or even a stranger, they’re unwilling to extend to their spouse.
Expecting their spouse to never disappoint, hurt, or let them down, quickly leads couples to disillusionment. Unintentionally, and sometimes on purpose, spouses hurt each other out of their own wounds and hurts.
Scripture addresses how to treat individuals who offend or hurt us, but this wisdom is often overlooked by couples. We think the biblical truths that apply to everyone else don’t pertain or aren’t relevant in a marital relationship.
However, couples that fail to apply all Scriptural truths to their own marriages will discover a difficult road to travel.
So how do we learn to “turn the other cheek” in marriage? God gives direction in how to respond when we’ve been hurt. Below are two ways to start.
1. Follow God’s Word over your own feelings. Understand our own feelings are not flawless or always trustworthy. In recognizing our own weaknesses, we can choose to follow God’s Word even during our most vulnerable times.
Turning to His Word for guidance will not ever fail us. Proverbs 30:5 explains how, “Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.”
2. Do the opposite of what you “feel” like doing. When facing hurt, our first response is emotional, rarely based on biblical truth, and may not even be how we really feel once we’ve calmed down.
Because angry emotions may fuel our responses, words spoken and actions taken during them can be very detrimental and possibly cause long lasting, irreversible damage to our relationships. It’s just not wise to spew out all the words and thoughts we may be thinking and working through at the very moment of hurt.
Instead of justifying our reactions, Philippians 2:3 urges “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”
Choosing humbleness in responding to hurtful situations in marriage, will prove overall to be more beneficial to our relationship.
Even during times of being deeply wounded by our spouse, we can choose to follow godly advice in how we respond. “For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil” (1 Peter 3:17).
Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, iBelieve.com, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, Startmarriageright.com, growthtrac.com, and more. She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as associate producer for Soul Check TV.
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