“Two wrongs don’t….” I’m sure you can finish that statement. I hear parents say it to their children all the time. Ok. Just in case, I’ll finish it. “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” You knew that, right? In fact, two wrongs usually just make it worse. Two wrongs add insult to injury. On the other hand, I often hear adults make statements that add wrong to wrong, insult to injury, in their marriages. For instance,
- I’ll respect my husband when he starts respecting me.
- I’m not cleaning again until he starts doing his part.
- They ignore me to play on their phone, so I just play on my phone and ignore them.
- I’ll listen to her when she starts listening to me.
- I’ll do more around the house when she quits nagging.
Did you catch the irony? We tell our children that “two wrongs don’t make a right,” but then we add wrong to wrong to prove a point to our spouses. Let me just say it, “Two wrongs don’t make a right,” even in marriage. Refusing to respect your spouse until you feel respected only makes things worse. Any time we add wrong to wrong we multiply the pain and add another brick to the wall separating us from our spouse.
Can I suggest a better response? It’s not the natural response or even an easy response. But it’s a response that opens the door to reconciliation and greater intimacy. I’m suggesting that you respond with grace. Give your spouse the good you don’t believe they deserve. Return a blessing for an insult, a positive for a negative, good for bad. Respond in grace.
- When you feel disrespected, respond with respect.
- When you feel your spouse is not doing their part in keeping the home clean, talk to them for sure…but keep on cleaning, without complaining, in the meantime.
- If you feel ignored when your spouse plays on their phone, put your phone down and sit next to them. Put your arm around them.
- If you feel as though your spouse is not listening to you, intentionally make the effort to listen to them, understand them, and respond to the things they say.
- When you feel your spouse is constantly nagging, kindly, without complaint, take care of the things they are nagging you about.
- If you’re feeling like your spouse never shows you physical affection, give them a morning and evening kiss and a hug throughout the day.
- Respond with grace.
Why respond with grace? First and foremost, because doing so is an expression of love and you love your spouse. At least you did at one point. And responding with grace may spark that love anew. Secondly, it opens the door to reconciliation and growing intimacy. Third, because “two wrongs don’t make a right,” but grace in response to a wrong creates the opportunity for change.
Don’t believe it? Give it a try and see if grace doesn’t change your marriage over the next month. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.