Nothing makes a house look nicer faster than a fresh coat of paint. The outside of a house may be painted and the inside walls can be painted and can really make a huge different in the way a house looks. Likewise, you can make your marriage better by painting over resentment and hurt. You bring things into your marriage and you create things in marriage that may cause damage in your marriage relationship.
I have a friend who is a professional painter by trade. He told me that the key to getting a good paint job is in the way that you prepare before you paint. You must thoroughly clean the walls or surface you are going to paint first. You have to carefully tape around the window panes. Also, you have to repair any cracks or holes before you attempt to paint.
Before you can paint over resentment and hurt in your marriage, you have to prepare first. You have to confront the hurt and resentment in your marriage before you can paint over them. The reason people attempt to just paint without the prep is because of the work. It is much easier to just ignore your feeling and hurts than it is to face and deal with them. Once you confront the way you are feeling, then and only then can you can begin to heal.
The following are some tips to confronting your feelings:
Talk to God about the way you feel
God already knows about your hurt and resentment, so He is the perfect person to open up to. Tell Him exactly how you feel and that you have been hurt by your spouse or by outside incidents that affect your marriage. By opening up to Him you can strengthen your relationship with Him and find healing for your heart before you try to “paint” over it in your marriage. One of the names of God is even “Counselor”. (See Isaiah 9:6) Hurts are typically tied to one incidents whereas resentment builds up overtime and has a tendency to explode if not dealt with.
Confront the person who has hurt you
One of the most pointed principles of scripture and the teachings of Jesus is the command to confront the person who has hurt you. In fact, the implication is that unless you have dealt with that hurt and resentment, you cannot give gifts to God.
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.Matthew 5:23-24
We find this same principle in dealing with Church discipline:
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.Matthew 18:15
Even in a straight regards to the relationship of a husband and a wife in the covenant of marriage, God makes this principle plain. That if you refuse to make things right with your spouse, He will refuse to respond to you until you do.
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.I Peter 3:7
Your marriage relationship is too important to ruin it over something you could set down and work out together. Furthermore, in talking to your spouse about how they may have hurt you could be a moment of revelation for them. They may not have been aware how their actions or words were tearing down your relationship.
As hard as this may be, in making yourself this vulnerable to your spouse, you could save your marriage and your future. Why let things bother you for weeks, months, or even years, when you could just face them and work through them together now? Keeping your feelings in too much can be like a poison to your love in that it slowly kills your relationship. Put the kids to bed and sit down at the the dining room table and talk about it.
Write a letter
At times, writing down how you feel can help you process resentment, hurt, and even bitterness. If you are angry with your spouse, this helps you to distance yourself from what has happened and to see a broader view of things. You may be able to see more of the picture if you are able to step back and take a look at what happened without losing your temper or becoming flooded with emotion. This can also help you develop some empathy toward your spouse as you may come to realize why or what circumstances may have driven your spouse to do what they did. This does not resolve or excuse your spouse from wrong doing, but it allows you a chance to come to terms and forgive them for those things.
As a young married couple my wife was with child and we were so excited until things changed. After experiencing all the joys of becoming parents, in a few hours time all our joy was turned to instant mourning and pain as my wife gave birth to a stillborn baby boy. The days became darker and the nights longer. At the promptings of a dear, caring friend, my wife and I wrote a letter to our child who had gone to Heaven before us. It was the hardest thing I have ever written, but it helped me to process and come to terms with how I felt.
For whatever reason, writing things down helps put your feelings into perspective. You may or may not choose to share your letter with your spouse, but after writing it, you will be more prepared to talk logically to one another.
Get help when needed
There a times when you may need a professional to help you work through some problems. Pastors and christian counselors are a great place to start. If you need help, it doesn’t mean that you are less of christian or that you are somehow less valuable to God, it just means you need help. You may just have to let go of your pride and self-righteousness and find someone who can help.
Preachers love to visually see a response from people, that is why a sermon almost always ends in some sort of call to action. It gives the preacher validation that all his hard work in prayer and study has accomplished something when the altars are full. Hence we call it the altar call at the end of the service as the preacher pleads with the listeners to make a decision about what they have heard. However, there are some problems that cannot be fixed with one trip to the prayer altar. In fact, it make take weeks, months, or even years of hard work to fully recover.
To many religious people there is a stigma to getting help for your problems. However, it does not have to be that way for you. Be open to getting help from a qualified individual.
The value of prepwork
By taking the time to prep before you paint, you establish a better foundation to work with. It may take extra time to tape around the windows, fill in the cracks with caulk, or apply a coat of primer, but the finished results are worth the extra time. If you can do some personal prepwork in your marriage before you try to paint over things, the beautiful improvements you can make are worth it. Now, you can paint over your feeling of resentment and hurt in marriage.
Paint over your feelings of resentment and hurt with…
1. The Story that Your Marriage Tells
The Gospel story
Buried in the Bible instructions for husbands and wives in Ephesians 5 is an incredible secret, that marriage is really all about the Gospel. Therefore your marriage is a picture of the amazing Grace of our Savior. In this way you are not just painting a pretty color on the wall of your marriage, you are painting a mural depicting the love that Christ has for the believing sinner.
Every time you forgive your spouse and let things go, you paint the picture of God’s forgiveness and love for you. When your kids see you have a disagreement, and then see you holding hands and loving each other, they have this image of Christ and the Church that they will never be able to get away from. Wherever they go in life, they will always have that image with them.
Additionally, considering the culture of our day, if you stay together by practicing love and forgiveness you become the exception. When people see that you have a great marriage, you can point them to your faith in Christ. Marriage between a man and woman (see Romans 1:26-28) who are right with God paints the picture of the Gospel unlike anything else in this world.
Your love story
Every couple has a story. It is a story of two pasts that cross and forever change. When you met for the first time, when you realized that you were in love, when you said your wedding vows, these are the moments that make your story what it is. Everyday you can add a little more paint, and color to your love story. Living together, and loving each other is what makes your story meaningful.
Satan is an evil mastermind who is determined to ruin your love story. He knows what it means for the Gospel and he hates it. Don’t let him win, depend on the power of God and love each other despite what Satan is trying to do. He will use anything and everything he can. I have seen it and you have too. His devices come in all shapes and sizes. It can be disagreements about family, pornography, pride, resentment, and even hurts, that drive that wedge between a happily married couple.
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.II Corinthians 2:11
2. Words of Encouragement, Grace, and Forgiveness
The power of words
From the beginning of time the story of redemption and the history of man were shared by audible words from memory. For instance, Adam and Eve taught their children about creation and the living God. The story of redemption then grew with each generation until Moses finally penned the first five books of the Bible. God made words so powerful that He used them to share the Gospel of Christ with mankind. These Words are so powerful that they can change your life for eternity.
Words are incredibly powerful and enabling. Whoever said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” was dead wrong. Words can hurt and damage a relationship more than you can imagine. You don’t have to be married long before you realize that saying the wrong thing to your spouse can absolutely devastated them. Many husbands have slain their marriage with hateful words to his wife. Many wives have driven their husbands away through the use of harsh, nagging words.
The Bible admonishes us to use words that edify instead of tearing down. It is not your place to criticize your spouse, but to support and encourage them. It becomes your responsibility within the covenant of marriage to offer words that build up your spouse.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.Ephesians 4:29
Examples of helpful words in marriage
- I love you (without and conjunctions or criticisms i.e. “but”)
- I admire you for….
- Thank you
- I am sorry
- I forgive you
Try incorporating these words more into your marriage relationship. Furthermore, take extra effort to compliment your spouse every time the opportunity arises. You will discover that this will benefit your marriage relationship overall and change negative feelings you may have towards your spouse.
Paint your marriage with beautiful words and discover the beautiful relationship that you have been missing!
3. The Joys of the Here and Now
You cannot change the past
Although you may have made regrettable mistakes in the past, you absolutely cannot turn back time and change things. In the 80’s a popular movie came out entitled, “Back to the Future”, in it the main character, Mary McFly finds a car than can travel back in time, but when he comes back to the future, he discovers that what he did in the past has changed the present. In the process he learned that it is best to just leave the past alone. It would be awesome if I had a time traveling Delorean so that I could travel back in time in fix the mistakes that I have made, or change the things that I said!
However, you can’t do anything about the past, you can only make the best of where you are at now. Don’t spend your time living in the past, or fretting about mistakes and failures, press on for God’s glory. Listen to the words of the Bible about things in the past.
forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,Philippians 3:13b
You cannot predict the future
It is also imperative to understand that you cannot predict what will happen tomorrow. Although it is great to prepare for the future, no one can really know what is going to happen. Certain behaviors can and usually leads to certain outcomes, but there are too many variable to say what is actually going to happen. You never know what sort of crisis or loss you may be facing tomorrow.
Therefore, it is important to not focus too much on the future as there are things that are completely out of your control. Notice the words of this song found in many popular hymn books today.
This was written by Ira F. Stanphill credit to:
I Know Who Holds Tomorrow lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, Capitol Christian Music Group
I don’t know about tomorrow
I just live for day to day
I don’t borrow from the sunshine
For it’s skies may turn to gray
I don’t worry o’er the future
For I know what Jesus said
And today I’ll walk beside Him
For He knows what lies ahead
Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand
Enjoy the now that you are in
Live in the moment with your spouse. You can never get time back, you can never get this moment back. Enjoy the moment that you are in. Enjoy being married and in love with each other now. This is the only thing in the timeline of your life you can control- the present!
You can paint over your feelings of resentment and hurt with…
- The Story that Your Marriage Tells
- Words of Encouragement, Grace , and Forgiveness
- The Joys of the Here and Now