The Bible says in Hebrews 12, “Make every effort to live in peace with all men (which would include your spouse) and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
But what do you do when your spouse hurts you so deeply that you find a bitter root developing within, despite your every effort, and the fact that you know it can hurt more than it can help?
Someone once said, “Bitterness is an acid that hurts more the object in which it’s stored than the object on which it is poured.” You may not want to take it in, but you find yourself taking it in anyway.
The following are a few thoughts for you to consider:
• “When others (including our spouse) hurts us in ways we don’t deserve, at some point we will come to the crossroads of decision. We will have to look our pain square in the face and ask, ‘Am I going to hang on to my anger and do violence to myself, or am I going to forgive those who have wounded me? Am I going to allow bitterness to poison and putrefy my soul, or am I going to invite God to empower me to let the anger go?'” (Pam Vredevelt, from the book, The Wounded Woman)
• “The choices we make form the rudder that directs our marriage journey. Good choices keep us sailing smoothly in the right direction. Bad choices steer us toward the rocks. And every day in marriage, choices are made that keep couples headed where they want to go or lead them to places that they dread.” (Dr’s. Les and Leslie Parrott, from the book, When Bad Things Happen to Good Marriages: How to Stay Together When Life Pulls You Apart)
• “Listen to these words: ‘We stand at the crossroads, each minute, each hour, each day, making choices. We choose the thoughts we allow ourselves to think, the passions we allow ourselves to feel, and the actions we allow ourselves to perform. Each choice is made in the context of whatever value system we’ve selected to govern our lives. In selecting that value system, we are, in a very real way, making the most important choice we will ever make.’ Benjamin Franklin said this, and his words have more wisdom for married couples than he probably ever knew.”
Keep in mind that:
“In order to thrive, bitterness averts its gaze from God’s grace and mercy, focusing instead on the multitude of ways He and people we’ve counted on have let us down.” (Roberta Rand Caponey from, “Overcoming Bitterness”)
There probably isn’t any of us would want to choose to hold onto bitterness. But how do you make a different “choice?”
To help you with this, we would like to recommend several articles for you to read and then a prayer that you might look over to see if it expresses the prayer of your heart, and then a few scriptures you could also pray through.
Hopefully, these things, along with what you can read in the Bible, and other articles you can read on our web site, and most importantly, working through all of this with our Wonderful Counselor, the Holy Spirit, you can better release whatever bitterness you are struggling with.
You can read the articles by clicking onto the links we have provided for you below. And then arrow back to read the prayer and the scriptures afterward (and if you have additional tips you can share to help others in this area of marriage, or you want to share requests for prayer and/or ask others for advice, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below). We pray God will minister to your heart and to your situation.
Here are the links:
The following is a prayer, written by Stormie Omartian, from her book, that you may want to pray and scriptures afterward that you may also want to pray through to the Lord our God:
“Help me not to hold myself apart from [my spouse] emotionally, mentally, or physically because of unforgiveness. Where either of us needs to ask forgiveness of the other, help us to do so. If there is something I’m not seeing that is adding to this problem, reveal it to me and help me to understand it. Remove any wedge of confusion that has created misunderstanding or miscommunication.
Where there is behavior that needs to change in either of us, I pray You would enable that change to happen. As much as I want to hang on to my anger toward [my spouse] because I feel it is justified, I want to do what You want. I release all those feelings to You. Give me a renewed sense of love for him and words to heal this situation.”
“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”
“Show me your ways, O LORD,
teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.”
This article was written by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International.