Editor’s Note: This devotional is the first of a two-part series on handling emotions for married couples. You can find “5 Scriptures on Managing Emotions Every Husband Should Know” by clicking here!
Now prepare yourself mentally and emotionally to follow the Eternal One your God. Go and build the temple of the Eternal God, so you may bring the covenant chest of the Eternal to rest there and take the holy vessels of God into His house for us to use in sacrifice.1 Chronicles 22:19 Voice
To be excellent or do well in something, you need to put in work and preparation.
I learned this lesson the hard way as a college student. One particular morning, I rolled out of bed late for class. I ran to my psychobiology lecture and sat down to listen, thinking I would just half listen and take notes.
But as the professor walked in, he told the class to take out our scantron for the test. My heart started pounding. I had completely missed that we had a test that day. I hadn’t studied at all and this was my hardest class.
Luckily one of the students had an extra scantron that they gave me, and I did my best to answer the questions. Needless to say, I did not do well. I ended up with a D on the exam because I wasn’t prepared for it.
Just like we need to prepare ourselves to do well in school, we learn from 1 Chronicles 22 that we also need to prepare ourselves to follow God and do what he wants us to do.
If we want to build close relationships, we need to put effort and time into the relationship. This is even more true for marriages. It takes work to build a spiritual marriage that is thriving and growing.
God gives us a lot of wisdom in the Bible about how to build a healthy and strong marriage. We must learn to prepare mentally but also emotionally to follow what God says and be close to our spouses in the way God wants.
This article will give us 5 ways to manage our emotions as wives so that we can be mentally and emotionally prepared to follow God and build a strong marriage.
Hold on to God’s promises
Are God’s promises not enough for you, spoken so gently and tenderly? Why do you let your emotions take over, lashing out and spitting fire, Pitting your whole being against God by letting words like this come out of your mouth?Job 15:11-13 MSG
God has given us many promises in the Bible. He promises to love us (Nehemiah 9:32 TLB), to protect us (Proverbs 30:5 GNT) and to guide us (Psalm 48:14 NET), just to name a few. When we hold onto these promises, we will be confident and at peace because we know that God will provide us with the things that we need.
However, when we don’t believe or cling to God’s promises, our emotions will take over in times of stress or trouble. We will stop seeing God as someone who is powerful and able to meet our needs more than anyone else.
When I don’t hold onto God’s promises for me, I tend to rely too much on my husband to meet my needs. Since he’s only human, he can’t meet my every need. I end up getting angry and bitter when I’m not getting what I want. This leads me to lash out at him just like the passage in Job 15 talks about.
In this clip from “Everybody Loves Raymond,” we see a wife lashing out at her husband for things she needs help with (and I’m sure many of us can relate to the things she brings up!).
As wives, I think it is important to be aware of the effect our emotions and words can have on our husbands. My words have wounded and torn down my husband’s confidence in the past.
But just as much as we need to be aware of the effect we have on our husbands when we lash out emotionally, we also have to be aware of what our emotions and bitterness do to our relationship with God. Job 15:13 says that lashing out with our emotions and words can put us in conflict with God.
This conflict with God happens when we refuse to forgive, hold a list in our heads of all the “wrongs” our husband has done to us, or say malicious things. Even though we may feel justified, God does not accept our unforgiving hearts (Matthew 6:14-15).
He offers unconditional forgiveness to us, and wants us to do the same for each other (check out Matthew 18:21-35 for a great story in the Bible about this).
Hurt feelings are bound to happen in our relationships. Anger and hurt will happen in marriage, because we are all human. However, trusting God’s promises helps us handle these emotions so we don’t get overcome by our anger. Holding on to God’s promise of forgiveness will help us choose forgiveness instead of bitterness.
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live.Ephesians 4:29-32 NLT
Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
The only way to mend our relationship with God and our husband is to get rid of all our bitterness and angry words. This can be easier said than done!
That is why we need a relationship with God. It will not work to just will ourselves to get rid of our bitterness. We need God’s help and God’s promises to replace our hurt and anger with kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.
Pause and reflect
- How do you think holding on to God’s promises to love, protect, and care for you would affect the way you interact with your husband?
- What are some things that tend to cause bitterness or anger in your marriage? What steps do you need to take to forgive?
- Find one of God’s promises in the Bible to read and hold on to each day.
Make a choice to believe
Why am I so overwrought? Why am I so disturbed? Why can’t I just hope in God? Despite all my emotions, I will believe and praise the One who saves me and is my life.Psalm 42:11 Voice
Recently I’ve been in a new space in my life—a space that makes me feel pressured and overwhelmed. As my daughter is working through her speech development, I’m having to learn to adjust my lifestyle to help her with those needs.
It’s not that my circumstances are difficult to manage; it’s my emotions that are challenging to manage. I can feel sad, angry, unbelieving, and negative at different moments. And in these moments I want my husband to make me feel happier and make life better. I often dump my emotions on him and expect him to quickly come up with solutions.
My emotions end up overwhelming my husband and making him want to retreat. What I’m learning is that not only can God handle any emotions I throw at him, he also helps me through the challenges in my life. I just have to choose to rely on him more than I rely on myself or other people.
When we go through things that feel out of our control, it is easy to feel agitated, distraught, and hopeless. Those emotions can take over and start feeding our negative thinking. We can have thoughts like:
- No one understands what I’m going through.
- No one cares about me.
- I have to take care of and fix everything/everyone.
- I’m giving up, it’s hopeless anyways.
I know from personal experience that it is very easy to get stuck in these feelings and believe what our emotions are telling us. I am learning that I have to make a choice to look past my emotions and believe in God and his ability and desire to save and help me.
One thing that helps me do this is reflecting on the many ways God has come through for me in the past. Making a choice to focus on gratitude helps set my mind on being hopeful instead of hopeless.
But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.Psalm 77:11-12 NLT
Pause and reflect
- What are some areas of your life in which you feel pressured or overwhelmed? How are you handling those emotions?
- Make a list of ways you’ve seen God bless you or help you when things felt challenging or hopeless.
Let go of control
Patience is better than power, and controlling one’s emotions, than capturing a city.Proverbs 16:32 CSB
My favorite Disney movie is Aladdin. Jafar, the villain in the movie, is always looking for power. He finally becomes the most powerful being on earth, but it ends up trapping him in the end instead of bringing the happiness he was looking for.
This movie can remind me of this verse of the Bible. It can be easy to think that if we have power or control over something or someone, we will feel better or calmer or happier. And as a wife, I often want control over my husband and my home.
I want my husband to act a certain way, I want my daughter to listen and follow directions I give her, and I want my home to have a certain order.
It is very easy for me to believe I know best and that my way of thinking or doing things is the right way. However, what Proverbs 16 says is that we can be “powerful” and take over things, but learning to control our emotions is even better than these things.
When you act with presumption, convinced that you’re right, don’t be surprised if you fall flat on your face! But humility leads to wisdom.Proverbs 11:2 TPT
One way we can take control of our emotionalism is by being humble. This means letting God, our husbands, and the people around us influence the way we do things, the way we think, and what we value.
Being humble leads to wisdom. That means humility will teach us how to build our marriage and family. We will get insight and begin to better understand ourselves, our spouses, and our kids.
Pause and reflect
- What does it look like when you are trying to control your husband or your home?
- In what area of your life do you need more influence and wisdom?
- Get advice from your husband and a friend on an area of your life that you are working on letting go of control.
Stay connected through honesty
We have been very open in speaking to you Corinthians. We have a place for you in our hearts. We haven’t cut you off. Your own emotions have cut you off from us.2 Corinthians 6:11-12 GW
These verses talk about two ways we can live: honest and connected to people, or cut off from people. It’s important for us to be honest about every area of our lives, including our emotions, if we want to be connected to other people (including our spouse).
There have been many times when I have felt angry or sad and refused to talk to my husband about my emotions. Even when he would try to ask me questions, draw out what was going on with me, or share examples from his own life to relate to me, I would still avoid being honest. In these times my husband has said he felt cut out of my life.
While some of us vent our emotions a little too much, others of us stuff our feelings and try to be in control. Both of these unhealthy methods of handling our emotions can hurt our relationships and cut our husbands out of our lives.
Even if you think you are being very honest because you vent your emotions, ask yourself whether you are being honest about some of the more vulnerable things you feel. Sometimes I vent my anger, but don’t share my insecurities. Or I let out all my discouragement, but don’t share that I am consumed with sins like jealousy or envy.
The way out of this is through honesty. We can choose to be vulnerable about what emotions are going on inside of us, as well as talk about our thoughts, our motives, our desires and our sin.
When we work on sharing our hearts honestly and vulnerably with God and our husbands we will stay close and connected.
Pause and reflect
- What do you need to be more honest about with your husband?
- How do you cut your husband off and keep him at a distance?
Focus on God instead of your worries
Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7 GW
In today’s world there can be a million things to worry about—coronavirus, political unrest, increasing anger and violence (i.e., airplanes, school board meetings), just to name a few. It’s easy for me as a wife and mother to bring home my worries and dump them on my loved ones.
When I’m anxious I can go on two different modes:
- Wanting my husband to fix the things I’m worried about, or
- Wanting to isolate myself from him and do everything myself.
Both of these things lead to stress and distance in our home.
Philippians 4 talks about handling our worries in a different way. It emphasizes the need to pray and it lays out how we should pray. First, we should let God know what we need, which includes praying about our emotions. Then we should let God know what we’re grateful for (could be things in the present or past that he’s done).
Once we do both of these things, we can experience peace and this will settle our thoughts and emotions.
Pause and reflect
- What are some things you are worried about? How are you dealing with your worries?
- What are you thankful for that God has done in your life?
As wives, managing our emotions can be a challenge. However, when we make choices to include God and his Word in our marriage, we are able to grow in temperance and grow in our relationship with our husbands.
The following book of the Bible and Deep Spirituality content can help you with further study in this area:
- Read the book of Psalms to learn how to take your emotions to God in prayer.
- Read “How the Inspirational People We Admire Handle Their Emotions.”
- Read “Faith Over Feelings: How to Trust God More Than My Emotions.”