Watch any sitcom for more than five minutes and you will hear rude comments and see arrogant behavior permeate the show. Why? Because our society has bought into the belief that pride and put-downs are funny and the laugh tracks prompt us to agree. Besides, those are just characters being portrayed. It’s not real life…or is it?
Behind closed doors some spouses are being wounded in marriage by the very person who vowed to honor and cherish them. That spouse has now become the one who:
- Is always right—and don’t question them
- Pushes their opinion until you acquiesce
- Believes they are a great performer sexually
- Acts as though they are gracious to give sex but only if you’ve earned it
- Picks on everything that is done because it wasn’t done “the right way”
- Tunes out their marital relationship with TV, the phone, computer
- Is offensive and harsh
- Speaks the truth but not in love
The Apostle Paul wrote that “Love…is not arrogant or rude.” So what do you do if you are married to a spouse who IS arrogant or rude? Are there steps to take? Absolutely. Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Pray for wisdom.
Before you do anything, go to your Source of strength in prayer. Ask God for insight into your spouse. Ask for the ability to see them through His eyes. Ask for the ability to forgive your spouse, and the strength to move toward resolution with them.
2. Check your spirit.
Be sure that there is nothing in you that has been arrogant or rude—either toward your spouse or your children. Invite God to search your heart and reveal to you anything that needs to be made right.
3. Communicate your feelings.
You cannot afford to ignore or minimize the situation. Sometimes a spouse isn’t even aware of their hurtful behavior. Let them know how their attitude, actions, or words make you feel. Use “I feel” statements to own what you are expressing. If your comments are peppered with “you…” statements it will only create defensiveness in your spouse. “You” statements are blaming and they shut down what you’re desperately wanting them to understand. (i.e. statements like “You are so arrogant it makes me feel…” or “You are so rude…” are not helpful)
4. Define your expectations.
In a loving manner, let your spouse know specifically your desires for how you want to be treated. Give them time to adjust and be gracious if they are making honest efforts toward change but fail along the way. If they are resistant to change, or upset at you, stay calm, trust God, and move toward the next step and…
5. Seek professional help.
Look for a Christian counselor who will work with you to heal your marriage. If you live in a remote area, a search on the internet can help you find someone who will work with you via the phone or Skype. Even if your spouse won’t join you, it’s important for you to work with a professional to gain skills and wisdom for next steps.
6. Back to #1—Pray.
Your identity is found in Christ. Your strength is from God. Your peace and comfort is from the Spirit.
As you root out any semblance of being arrogant or rude from your life—and from your marriage—you will create more space for love and unity as you build your marriage!