Marriage Helpers by James T. Berry, Ph.D.
Close Your Exits
This does not mean you can’t have space when needed. It does mean that you accept your connection to
and commitment to your spouse. Take your anxiety about this to God and lean on Him for the strength to
walk through this.
You are both Bad and Good
When you are tempted to see your spouse as all bad, remember your own badness and the grace that
you have received from God and others. Then you will be better able to extend grace to your imperfect
spouse and to see the good in him or her.
Do not assume that your memory of any event is absolutely correct. Each person experiences events
through filters and develops perceptions. Do not commit the “Fundamental Attribution Error” where a
person assumes that his or her own perceptions and motivations are right and the other person’s are
wrong. Rather humbly assume that you could be wrong and that the other person could be more right. If
you are convinced that the other person is clearly wrong about a memory, then give them grace thinking
that in the stress of the moment, the person got it wrong or had a brief moment of psychosis. It happens.
Remember the Fruit of the Spirit
Review the fruit often and ask yourself how you are coming across to your spouse. It is ok to have anger
at times, but it is to be resolved in a timely way and done so without violating the other person. Especially
keep Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, and Self-Control in mind when dealing with one another.
Trust God to deal with your Spouse
God is working in us and through our marriages to help refine us into being men and women after his
own heart. God will convict of sin; expose what needs to be exposed; and change our hearts. Focus
more on the transformation of your own heart and less on the problem of your spouse’s heart.