Does getting your feelings hurt in marriage give you license to sin?


Let’s suppose you’ve had an argument with your spouse. Something unkind was said. Then came a harsh reply.

Tempers flared and unwise words volleyed back and forth until you were in the middle of a marital meltdown complete with histrionics {exaggerated dramatic behavior designed to attract attention} and hostility.

Not good. But not the end of your marriage, either, unless of course such events occur on a daily basis which would require immediate intervention lest someone gets hurt.

Next day your spouse asks forgiveness. Says they are sorry they chose to have a lousy, self-serving attitude and behaved arrogantly and unloving, doing the things they hate to do. They ask you to pardon their sin.

Typically the two of you serve God side-by-side and you accept the apology. But you’re still upset and say you need some time and space. You’re feelings are hurt and you feel sad. Your spouse feels badly that relational repair is put on hold, but understands and backs away, letting you be.


Taking a time-out can help both husband and wife focus on their own part in an argument, taking responsibility for self-made choices and personal sins, so they can mutually humble and seek forgiveness. Time-out is for getting your own heart in line with Jesus so that the hurts lose their sting and you get your relationship back on track.

For marriage is a crucible full of fiery trials at times. But trials overcome build character in the inner man and woman. Not for the faint of heart, yet you both are more than conquerors through Christ. And no matter who started it, a fight won’t occur unless both parties participate. It’s takes two to tangle.

To start a conflict is to release a flood so stop the dispute before it breaks out.
Proverbs 17:14

Why do you fight and quarrel? It is because your feelings are fighting inside of you. That is why you fight. You want something very much and cannot get it. So you quarrel and fight. You do not get it because you do not ask God for it. You ask for it, but you do not get it, because you ask in a wrong way. You want to use it for yourselves and not for others. You people promised God you would be true to him, but you did not stay true! James 4: 1-4

And remind yourself who your real enemy is!

For our struggle is not against {our} flesh and blood {spouse}, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12


However, the fight you had was awful and you’re still steaming as you lick your wounds. Even though you say you have forgiven, your sorrows wallow deep.

A day goes by. And another. Now half a week has elapsed and you’re still ignoring your spouse, speaking only when necessary. And I bet the devil is clapping hands in the shadows shrouding your marriage — both during the fight and in its protracted aftermath where you allow the three-strand cord to fray a bit.

Your spouse keeps a low profile but continues being available to you. Trying to rebuild the bridge. When asked about moving on beyond the sinful circumstance you say your heart has too much pain and you continue keeping an icy distance. Then you decide to pull out the big guns.

Maybe you promised to do something for your spouse later that week. Perhaps you made a commitment to attend an event together. Whatever it was you declare during the argument that you will not.

And you stand on your word. But what would Jesus do in such a time as this? How do you purpose to love as a verb when your heart feels crushed in its own sinful web?

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:9

You heap sin upon sin when the speck in the other’s eye appears larger than the plank in your own and you won’t see past the end of your nose to what is really going on in the spirit realm.

Now your choice wounds your mate — just like their’s did you a few days earlier — but it is difficult for you to discern that your apparent retribution is anything but justifiable, after all your heart hurts.

Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:7

You say you are a disciple of Christ. You ask God to do whatever it takes to make you more like Elder Brother. You understand that blessings sometimes come as hardships. You purpose to obey the commands of Christ. You know His Way is the hard way. You love God, though, more than yourself and you want Him to do whatever it takes to make you a true son or true daughter of the Cross.

Might not your marital insurrection be a lesson for you as well as your one-flesh other?

Might not the rocky road that pinches your toes and stretches you well beyond your borders be just what the Great Physician orders to make you well, your heart stronger?

If spouses want to grow tall in Jesus then they must shrink their pride.

And take courage and take their eyes off the hurt and their spouse’s speck (no matter how blatant and real) and examine self.

For might not your own actions — of withholding love, service or something dear from your spouse —be a form of retaliation? And ignoring your spouse well past a reasonable time-out limit be manipulation? 

And aren’t the pot and the kettle both black? What’s bad in a goose, bad in a gander? Isn’t sin sin?

Have you thought to ask your mate to forgive you for your evil during the fight? 

Marriage is comprised of two sinners. Fallen man. Fallen woman. In Christ, both are saved and being healed — sanctified — day by day. Note to self: At the altar you vowed for better and for worse.

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.
Proverbs 18:22

Yet those who marry will experience distress in this life.
1 Corinthians 7:28

Have you considered that putting your feelings before your obedience might be an act of self-centered rebellion on your own part?

Rebelling against God or disobeying him because you are proud is just as bad as worshiping idols or asking them for advice. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. 1 Samuel 15:23

You who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.
Acts 7:51

Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked, each one, in the stubbornness of an evil heart; therefore I brought on them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but they did not.
Jeremiah 11:8

Though you and your spouse are weak, fight sometimes, get hurt feelings, you can both choose to bend the knee to the Almighty, clasp hands once again, and do all things together through Christ who strengthens both of you.

This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man {or woman} boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches.
Jeremiah 9:23

Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else.
Galatians 6:4


Because at the end of the day, or maybe after several days — if you both are truly committed to God and preserving and growing your marriage — love will win out and you will come together again. 

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. 1 Corinthians 4-8

So choose this very moment, whom you will serve.

Then kiss, make up, move forward and keep fighting the good fight…

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3 thoughts on “Does getting your feelings hurt in marriage give you license to sin?

  1. Ouch. I think we’ve all done this, Sheila…given ourselves permission to hurt someone because they hurt us. But you’re right; it’s the wrong thing to do. Thanks for the reminder here to forgive, love, and keep moving forward!