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The Real Marriage Killer

Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil, who speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts. Psalm 28:3

Careful.  You might think you are fine, as you sit in judgment of your spouse, but as Jesus said, don’t worry about the speck in your neighbor’s eye when you have a log in your own.  This is one of the surprising things about marital therapy:  A client often comes to counseling in hopes I’ll straighten out her husband, only to discover she’s got some work to do herself.  It’s good she figures that out.  A little daunting sometimes, but very helpful.

And one of the most common things she has to figure out is that resentment in her heart has to go!  Or as our little verse above reminds us: harboring malice in our hearts.  YIKES!  Who’s gonna know, right?  Who’s your neighbor?  How about that husband sleeping next to you?  How about that wife across the dining room table?

Harboring malice?  You’d never do that, right?  You think you are innocent of this?

This is one of the reasons people don’t like to read the Bible.  It’ll cut to the heart.  Most of us pride ourselves on not DOING evil.  The Bible points out it’s even hurtful, self-destructive and relationship destroying to “THINK” evil.

You say, I don’t think evil about my spouse.  Oh, yeah?  How about:

You aren’t going to do the dishes?  I’ll show you not doing dishes.  I’ll see how long it takes you to do dishes and every minute you don’t do dishes I’ll be more mad at you.

You won’t talk to me?  I won’t talk to you.

You won’t have sex with me?  I won’t talk to you.

You won’t talk to me?  I won’t have sex with you.

You won’t talk to me?  I won’t come home.

You won’t talk to me?  I’ll talk to somebody else.

You criticize me?  I’ll cut you off.

You don’t make me happy?  I won’t make you happy.

You don’t make me happy?  I’ll find someone to make me happy.

You spend money foolishly?  Let me show you foolish.

You won’t clean the house….ever?  Let me show you a house where nobody cleans!

You drink too much and then get mean?  I’ll secretly hate you for it.

You hurt me?  I’ll cut you off.  I’ll harbor resentment.  I’ll nurture my resentful thoughts and find ways to NOT be close to you.   Then I’ll blame you for it (It’s a perfect scheme!)!

Pretty soon “harboring malice” will be second nature.

Habits have a strange way of taking over our lives.

So be careful in patting yourself on the back about how great you are compared to your spouse.  If you sit in judgment of your spouse, you are well on your way to destroying your marriage without even trying.

That’d be the key for you wouldn’t it?

Without even trying.

The road to divorce is paved with hearts that quit trying.


Dr. Bing Wall is a therapist specializing in marriage and relationships and issues facing single adults with a practice in Ames and Urbandale, Iowa.  To set up a time to see Dr. Wall click here or call 888-233-8473.  For more information about Dr. Wall click here.

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