Couple praying - fight urge to retaliate in marriage

Fight the Temptation to Retaliate

MattFaith, Patience, Uncategorized

Want to battle for your marriage? Want a healthier, happier relationship? Fight the temptation to retaliate every time your spouse hurts your feelings or angers you.

Proverbs 24:29 says, “Do not say, ‘I’ll do to them as they have done to me; I’ll pay them back for what they did'” (NIV).

Proverbs is the ultimate guidebook for living a life filled with wisdom. And while the advice you’ll find in this book of sayings will lead you down an excellent path for growth, it won’t always be the world’s favorite way to go. In fact, it may make you seem downright odd to some people.

What the World Says

The instruction we find in the book of Proverbs encourages us to do the opposite of what comes naturally to most. In fact, many folks would likely see the Golden Rule as a bit outdated. Sure, they’d consider treating others the way they want others to handle them. That is, if they have all of their criteria met.

What criteria?

Don’t slight me. Give me the respect I deserve. Live up to my standards.

The list of requirements is a lot longer than that, isn’t it? If you take that perspective, there’s only one option when trouble starts brewing. Stir the pot. I’ll see your raised voice and elevate my volume, too. You betrayed me; now I’m going to go my own way also—just to spite you.

The One who wrote the book on wisdom, literally, came to earth as a practitioner to demonstrate proper form when conflict emerges before us—often when levied on us without cause. We see the life of Jesus shouting loud and clear throughout Scripture a better, even if it’s a less lauded, way.

A Better Way

The Apostle Peter summarizes:

For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls (1 Peter 2.19-25).

When Jesus faced times of trouble, He kept in view the One for whom he looked them square in the eye without blinking. He distanced himself from the temptation to return harm for harm. Jesus maintained gentleness. He took a wrong without having to retaliate. 

What an example for us to imitate. What a tall order for you in your marriage. It’s often a wounded soul that causes the people we love most to strike out at us. Perhaps, because of the healing you’ve found in Jesus, you can fight the urge to retaliate. Instead, you can patiently endure and guide your most crucial relationship back to the Shepherd and the Overseer of your souls.

Every married couple faces challenges in their relationship from time to time. One great way for you and your spouse to grow closer and face life’s challenges together is to take a marriage course together. Call 800-650-9995 for more information about the different courses we offer.

More reading:
10 Lessons from 21 Years of Marriage

Put the Love Back in Your Marriage


About the Author


Matt Brock has been married to Holly since 1999. When he's not involved in helping nonprofits tell their story he likes writing and traveling. He likes exercise less but needs to do it more.