Not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:9
Some couples just don’t seem to know any other way to relate to one another than with digs, comebacks and put-downs. But sometimes, that same bitterness of spirit can show itself in less vocal ways, when one or the other spouse stews underneath and passively retaliates. There’s more than one way to get back at your spouse.
This reminds me of the old story—supposedly true—about some soldiers who were living off base during the Korean War. They hired a local houseboy to do cooking and cleaning and other odd jobs for them, but they also took delight in playing tricks on him—just for meanness.
One morning when the boy got up and put on his slippers, he awkwardly fell forward to the ground—his shoes had been nailed to the floor. One night when he crawled into bed, he found shaving cream under his pillow. But no matter what pranks the soldiers pulled—whether short-sheeting his bed or setting buckets of water over his door—he always appeared to respond without much visible anger. “That’s okay,” he would say.
Finally, the young men realized they’d been inhumane in their treatment of the boy. They went to him and apologized. “We’re sorry for what we’ve been doing to you. It won’t happen again.”
“You no more nail shoes to the floor?” No.
“You no more short-sheet bed? No more shave cream under pillow?” That’s right.
A little smile crept across the boy’s lips. Then he said, “Okay. Then me no more spit in soup.”
There are many, many ways to spit in each other’s soup in marriage.
I am amazed at how quickly my mind can creatively come up with ways to retaliate. The Scriptures tell us that it isn’t wrong to be tempted. But it is wrong to “spit in your spouse’s soup!” In the spirit of 1 Peter 3:9, find a way to give a blessing instead of an insult.
Be honest: When and how have you undercut each other like this? What are your little tricks for getting even? How can you begin to practice “giving a blessing instead”?
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you turn away from hurting your spouse and to help you give your spouse a blessing in the heat of the moment.