By Michelle Barringer
How does a wife’s spirit influence her husband in conflict? There is a spirit within each of us that influences others. We can influence with or without love in our marital conflicts. Jesus desires for us to influence with a gentle and quiet spirit.
Handling Marital Conflict
My husband and I have had our share of marital troubles. I’d often blame my husband for our conflicts, not myself. As I sought Jesus for direction for our marital conflicts, he always asked me the toughest questions. One question was this: “How are you doing as far as loving Bob?”
Why does it always come back to how I am behaving and not how my husband is behaving? Jesus assured me he would address my husband’s issues directly with him. But when he spoke with me, he would address my issues. What issue did I have?
The Influence of Irritability
Jesus often takes me to 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, when he advises about marriage. This chapter defines love according to God. It’s important we understand love is and what love isn’t. I was about to learn what issue I had.
One day, Jesus led me to read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 in the English Standard Version (ESV). A part of verse five revealed my problem: “[Love] is not irritable.” I struggled with irritability. Ouch!
Whatever the conflict, I’d get irritated and act out of that irritability. My irritability influenced my husband and then he became irritable too. Round and round irritability went in our marriage.
I had no idea how much I struggled with irritability until God revealed it to me. As I observed myself going forward, I realized Jesus was right. My husband contributed to our conflicts, but so did I with my irritability. I influenced my husband with my irritable spirit.
Irritability is not love and a lack of love causes conflict in marriage.
A Gentle and Quiet Spirit
Battling sin is hard work. Breaking bad habits takes time. While I tried to not be irritable, I struggled. I wanted to be different. Thankfully, Jesus provided more direction when I read these words:
“Rather, it [your beauty] should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:4 (NIV)
“A gentle and quiet spirit” captured my eyes and my heart. This is the kind of spirit God values and what he wants our inner spirit to be with our husbands.
What does a gentle and quiet spirit look like? A gentle spirit consists of a mild and tender temperament or character. A quiet spirit is free from agitation, meaning free from anxiety or nervous excitement.
When I analyzed my reaction to conflicts with my husband, I had to admit I wasn’t mild, tender, or free from agitation. Rather, I was like a washing machine stuck in the agitation cycle. No wonder my husband and I were swirling around in conflict.
Stop the Agitation Cycle
Have you ever had to stop your washing machine in the middle of the agitation cycle? You need to push the right button to stop it. So it is with ourselves. In order to quiet the agitation that’s stirring up irritability, we need to stop the cycle.
That’s what I started to do. When a conflict started, and I could feel agitation begin inside of me, I’d stop right in that moment. I’d tell my husband I needed to stop the conversation because I was getting agitated. Then I’d walk away and go spend time with Jesus until I was free from agitation and my spirit could be tender again.
I’ve learned I can influence my husband for the better when I have a gentle and quiet spirit, than when I have a revved-up washing machine going on inside of me.
Love is not irritable. When we recognize irritability begin to swish around in our spirit, it’s time we push the stop button, until Jesus helps quiet our spirit, and we can be kind and tender.
The inner beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit influences our husbands in a more positive, life-giving way, and has the capacity to affect the marital relationship for better than irritability ever will.
Wife Step: The next time you feel irritation begin with your husband, push the stop button on the agitation cycle. Just stop what you are doing. Retreat with Jesus until he quiets your heart, soul, and mind. Then resume your conversation with your husband with a gentle and quiet spirit.
Michelle Barringer is a writer, speaker, blogger, Gallup-certified Strengths Coach, and a full-time learning and development consultant. She has a master’s degree in communication. Michelle is currently writing her first book in the wee hours of the morning. She is NOT a morning person.
She’s journeyed with Jesus for a long time getting to know Him better, and has gotten to know herself better in the process. Michelle is an encourager and cheerleader. She only has one goal and mission in life: to live the purpose of God and encourage you to do the same. Her biggest passion is to encourage hearts in faith, purpose, and perseverance.
You can join Michelle on social media @michellerbarringer on Instagram and Facebook and her website www.michellebarringer.com where she writes about faith, purpose, and perseverance sharing true stories and biblical insight.