Marriage in Scripture – Part 9: Anger in Marriage


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Marriage in Scripture – Part 9

Anger Rests In The Bosom of Fools

[Study Aired May 4, 2014]

Ecc 7:9  Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.

Uncontrolled anger in a marriage is destructive at best and can become deadly at worst. All anger is the result of frustrated self will, and regardless of the apparent source of the frustration, when we are frustrated at anything, in the end we are frustrated only with God who is “working all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph 1:11).

So I hope no one listening fails to understand that when we allow ourselves to become angry with our spouse to the point of becoming frustrated and out of control, as hard as it is to accept and to acknowledge, we are contending with, reproving, and condemning God Himself, who is working this very trying circumstance in our life. That is the truth of the matter whether it is a wife whose husband is the offending partner, or if it is the husband whose wife is the offending party. Even if both spouses are the offending parties, God is working circumstances to reveal all the “wood, hay and stubble” and all the “tares” which are growing in the Lord’s field within us.

1Co 3:12  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
1Co 3:13  Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
1Co 3:16  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 
1Co 3:17  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

The next time you become upset with your spouse, just consider the truth that is revealed in these verses of scripture, and if there is any of the fear of God within you, it will help you to “be angry and sin not”. These are verses with which we are all very familiar, and yet when it comes to dealing with our spouses, we completely forget what is taking place and who it is who is “work[ing]… all these things” as we are told in:

Isa 45:6  That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.
Isa 45:7  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. 

Eph 1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 

Does not “all these things” include the actions of our spouse? Is it not God who has sent us our evil trials? If indeed ‘all things’ includes the things our spouse do, and if God has “created [the] evil” in our spouse, will we not be far better off to rule over the beast within who wants everything to operate according to our own will instead of having to endure these trials God is working in our marriages. Will we not be far more blessed if we rule over our own spirit, and speak rationally and firmly from the basis of the Word of God, rather than losing our tempers and shouting in anger at our spouse in the presence of God and our children.

Ideally children should never see or hear their parent having an argument. Arguments ought always to be done in private and away from the children. It is destructive to our children to let them witness discord between their parents. What children see, is what they think of as normal, and it is the responsibility of parents to set a good example for their children and to pass good values on to their children. That is the very essence of being a parent.

When we fail to rule our own spirit, we blaspheme the name of God among the heathen, but what a great witness we are when we are reviled and revile not again:

1Pe 2:21  For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 
1Pe 2:22  Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
1Pe 2:23  Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
1Pe 2:24  Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

“In His own body” from a scriptural perspective, includes us:

 Col 1:24  Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church

Rotherham’s properly includes the article in this verse:

Col 1:24  Now, am I rejoicing in the sufferings on your behalf, and am filling up the things that lack of the tribulations of the Christ, in my flesh, in behalf of his body, which is the assembly, 

We know we are to “fill up the afflictions of the Christ in [our own] flesh for his body’s sake”, and we pray to be able to do just that. Why then do we find it so hard to apply these words to the spouse the Lord has given us, the person who is supposed to typify Christ in our marriage, the one person who we are supposed to love above all else in this world?

The answer is that we do not yet fully understand or appreciate the fact that our own Savior is also the person who “creates evil” in our lives. We still are not comfortable with the fact that He is the “one lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy” and that it is He who sends us the trials which appear to be the work of our spouse.

Psa 90:3 Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.

Jas 4:12  There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

The weaknesses of our spouse are not to be condoned, but neither are they an excuse to lose our temper and place the responsibility of that sin, that fault, or that weakness upon our spouse. We are told that our own sins are not really our own. Rather our own sins are a work which our Savior works within us to bring us to see our desperate need for a Savior. These words apply to our spouse just as much as they apply to us:

Rom 7:17  Now then it is no more I that do itbut sin that dwelleth in me. 
Rom 7:18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
Rom 7:19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Rom 7:20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do itbut sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:21  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
Rom 7:22  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
Rom 7:23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 
Rom 7:24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 
Rom 7:25  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

We know this is all true. We know “It is no longer I that [commits sins], but sin that dwells in me”. We know that our own sins are the work of the “law of sin which is in [our] members”. We know that our only hope of salvation is “through Christ Jesus our Lord”, and yet we struggle mightily to apply all of this knowledge to our mate who is supposed to be the type of Christ Himself in our marriage. Why can we not see that when we lose our temper at our spouse we are doing so at Christ Himself who gave us that spouse for the very purpose of giving us the lesson He is at that moment teaching us?

The positive application of anger

As is the case with every single human emotion, anger, in the sum of God’s Word, has both a positive and a negative application within the Word of God. The fact is that any true man or woman of God is commanded to be angry, and to control and properly direct his or her anger as our Lord did:

Eze 9:4  And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.

Yes, it is entirely proper to “sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst” of our own homes. It is right and proper to deal in a patient spirit with the weakness and faults we see in our spouse. But it is never right or proper for any of those who name the name of Christ to be out of control of his or her temper in doing so, and any such correction or admonition should never, under any circumstance, be done in the presence of our children.

Here is the best example we will ever find of how we are supposed to be angry and sin not:

Mar 3:5  And when he had looked round about on them [the Pharisees] with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.

As the apostle Paul explains, our Savior wants us to also “be angry” when we see injustice and sin, and He wants us to “sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst [of His own people]”.

Eph 4:26  Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

“Be ye angry” is in the imperative mood, which means we are being commanded to ‘be angry’ when it is proper to do so. Christ was angry over the “hardness of their hearts” and the lack of faith of the Pharisees, but He did not let the sun go down on His anger, and He is our example. (1Pe 2:21)

But as is always the case the scriptures have much more to say about the abuse of the emotion of anger, than they have to say about its positive application, and as the apostle Paul makes us aware, it is upon those we love the most that we all too often vent our anger.

Jealous anger

The apostle Paul properly confesses to be jealous of the churches he was used to raise up:

2Co 11:2  For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 

But in this same epistle he also admits that he did not feel that the feeling was mutual:

2Co 12:15  And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.

The Corinthian church had not yet learned that newlyweds have to accept the fact that they are no longer single, and they can no longer act as if they are single. Your friends can no longer spend time with you as if you aren’t even married. That is especially true of  friends of the opposite sex. No one, male or female, should be willing to share his or her spouse with his or her friends as if marriage makes no difference. Being married does make a difference, and it is right and proper for a spouse to be jealous of each other’s time and affections. Old boy friends and old girl friends are especially unwelcome within a marriage, and should not be tolerated as if being married makes no difference. If God is jealous of our affections, and is unwilling to share our thoughts and affections with false gods and false doctrines, then it is only proper that we should expect the same of ourselves and of our spouse:

Exo 20:5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

Exo 34:14  For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: 

Psa 79:5  How long, LORD? wilt thou be angry for ever? shall thy jealousy burn like fire? 

The answer to “shall your jealousy burn like fire?” is, yes it will indeed “burn like fire”, and we are warned to avoid making our own spouse jealous.

Son 8:6 Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave:the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.

It takes time to earn your spouse’s trust, so separate yourself from your old friends, male and female, for the sake of your spouse. Let the whole world know that he or she is now far more important to you than anyone else in this world.

1Sa 7:3  And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.

Mat 4:10  Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 

Jas 1:8  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. 

Jas 4:8  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 

We are not given these words of wisdom in the book of Proverbs for no reason:

Pro 6:34  For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.

Son 8:6  Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. 

When dealing with the “rage” of jealousy, it is right and proper to “be ye angry and sin not”. Speak to one another with restraint and patience. Acknowledge that this, too, is Christ Himself working this trial after the counsel of His own will, and “let not the sun go down upon your wrath”. You will not always succeed in doing so, but at least now we all see that the scriptures give us all these admonitions, and we at least now know that there is a proper place for jealousy, and we know what our Creator expects of us.

Anger because of a lack of consideration

It is quite natural for a husband to become angry with a wife who is not attuned to his requests and his desires. It is equally as natural for a wife to become angry with a husband who does not consider her or her wishes and desires in his decision making.

It would seem unnecessary to even have to mention it, but going out with anyone of the opposite sex is simply scripturally completely out of the question. Married men do not act as if they are single, and married women do not act as if they are still single. If you still think that sex outside of marriage is no big thing, then you are still in the deep pit of your own carnal lusts, and you still have the misery of being brought to your wits’ end ahead of you.

Psa 107:24  These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. 
Psa 107:25  For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.
Psa 107:26  They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.
Psa 107:27  They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end. 

Do not spend any extended periods of time with anyone of the opposite sex, not even on the phone. If you do, you are courting disaster, and it will surely find you.

A man who decides to spend his weekend with his buddies and doesn’t first consult his wife about what she would like to do for the weekend is not a very considerate husband. Wives appreciate being considered when decisions affecting the whole family are being made. The same is true with men who ought to be the head of their home. What we ought to be striving to achieve is single-minded, mutual consideration, which is the essence and fruit of “be[ing] one flesh… [and] of the same mind”, within our marriages, just as we are, or should be, in our marriage to Christ.

Eph 5:24  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Eph 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

As husbands and wives in a marriage relationship, we are one and all the wife of Christ, and should be seeking to have His mind in everything. Having the mind of Christ, is the secret to true peace of mind. After giving us all the admonitions about how to have a functional and healthy physical marriage, the apostle Paul, in Ephesians 5, makes this statement:

Eph 5:32  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 

So we should all be seeking to think as Christ thinks, because Christ thinks as His Father thinks, and His Father is the manufacturer who knows how His creation best operates.

What Christ demonstrated for us was that He did nothing except what His Father sent Him to do. He sought to please His Father, and made His Father’s will the center of His life. If we do that with our mate, we will never plan a single day without consulting our mate and planning our day around our spouse. Men should never leave the house without first communicating with their wives and wives ought to always communicate with their husbands concerning their whereabouts. It should not be considered as a burden to do so. It should be a simple matter of consideration of one another and the oneness that ought to be the basis of a godly marriage.

But that simply is not what we first do. We are born as self-centered little beasts who cry out from birth demanding to be fed and clothed, and we aren’t even aware of what we are doing. If we are born into a family with brothers and sisters, we are forced to become aware of the fact that there actually are others in this universe whose needs and desires must also be considered. But even under the very best of circumstances, we are still self-centered beasts, who can become very upset and angry when we fail to get our way, or when we perceive ourselves as being ignored or taken for granted.

Those are just a few of the circumstances which will uncover the foolishness and shame of the anger that is within our flesh.

Here is a verse which lets us know just how important it is to be capable of containing our anger:

Pro 16:32  He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

That is a truthful statement even if it is not considered to be true by a world that honors and worships the beast, who gets his power and throne from the dragon, who has “great wrath”.

Rev 12:12  Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

The “great wrath” of the devil is within all of his children, which we all are by nature:

Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

A man or a woman with a temper is contrasted in the scriptures with a man who is given to rule his spirit:

Pro 15:1  A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. 

Pro 15:18  A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.

A man or woman who cannot control his or her temper is working against his or her own interest. A person who submits himself to what God is doing in his life is quick to forgive others and to pass over their faults, weaknesses and transgressions:

Pro 19:11  The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression. 

A man of God is never on a witch hunt against others with “grievous words [that] stir up anger”. He is especially willing to hide the sins and transgressions of his own mate:

Jas 5:20  Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

1Pe 4:8  And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 

Pro 17:9  He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

It is especially foolish to lose your temper against anyone in authority:

Pro 20:2  The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul. 

Uncontrolled anger is itself ‘iniquity’, and ‘iniquity’ will cause us to reap what we sow:

Pro 22:8  He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.

Pro 27:4  Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?

We are all fools by birth and in need of a Savior to deliver us. That Savior loves us and “who [He] loves He chastens” for the purpose of delivering us from our own foolish tempers:

Pro22:15  Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. 

Ecc 7:9  Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools. 

Since we will all “live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God”, it is comforting to read the New Testament commandments against all the “anger [which] rests in [our] bosoms [as the] fools” we all are by birth.

Eph 4:31  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

Col 3:8  But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Conclusion

In Ephesians 5 we are told:

Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

The reason husbands are told “love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church” is because that is not what we do by nature.

The reason wives are told…:

 Eph 5:22  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

…is because the curse placed upon Eve and her progeny is to be against their husbands:

Gen 3:16  Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to [Hebrew, against] thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

How sweet it is when a husband loves his wife and when a wife submits to her own husband. Never again does either mate accuse or belittle the person God gave him and her to love and nourish and build up in the eyes of others. Let us look for what is good and commendable in our spouse. Let’s make these words apply to our mate, and then let’s watch our marriages blossom and grow and bring forth much fruit both physically and spiritually:

Php 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

I asked earlier “Why can we not see that when we lose our temper at our spouse, we are doing so at Christ Himself who gave us that spouse for the very purpose of giving us the lesson He is at that moment teaching us?”

The answer is that when we blame our spouse for his or her problems we are not yet given to acknowledge that God is the one lawgiver, and it was He who placed “the law of sin” in our own members and in the members of our spouse. When in God’s own time we are granted to acknowledge this truth and appreciate the blessing that He alone can bring out of that law of sin in our members, only then will it be possible for us to think only on “things are honest… things are just… things are pure… things are lovely… things are of good report… any virtue, and… any praise” as that admonition should first and foremost be applied to our spouse.

Let me read again what Christ did when He was reviled:

1Pe 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

Christ knew that whatever His Father was doing, He was doing “judg[ing] righteously”, and He “committed Himself to Him”. He did not contend with, reprove, or condemn His Father for the wickedness of those who hated Him, and neither did He contend with, reporove or condemn His Father for the weaknesses of His own disciples, His spouse.

Psa 30:5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Lord hasten the day when we are granted to place our spouse in the hands of our Lord, which is really nothing more than acknowledging that is where that spouse already is.

In our next study we will go into depth concerning a subject we have already mentioned in passing in several of these studies. We will be discussing how a couple should scripturally deal with in-laws, friends, old boy friends and old girl friends so as to never presume upon each other’s trust and for the purpose of setting a Godly example, which will be above reproach for our children and for those within and without the body of Christ.

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