Summary: How husbands and wives hurt one another . . . and what we can do about it.
1. I’ve titled tonight’s sermon "Ouch!" because that’s the way we feel after our mate hurts us with some hurtful word or action.
2. When that hurt is intentional, your relationship has some serious issues that are beyond the scope of what we’re trying to deal with here tonight. However, most of the time, married people hurt one another without meaning to. We speak or act without thinking through the consequences and end up inflicting pain on one another.
3. Tonight we’re going to talk first about How We Hurt One Another. In one of his books (Hidden Keys of a Loving Lasting Marriage), Gary Smalley has a chapter titled "Eight Ways Husbands Hurt Their Wives." We’ll look at some of the things he says. But we also want to recognize that although men are supposed to be big and tough, women have many weapons at their disposal which can pierce that armor and inflict major hurt on the men in their lives.
4. Then, we’ll talk about What To Do When Your Marriage Suffers An Ouch. There will be two points here:
a. Communication -- if our mates don’t intend to hurt us, then they may not even know what they are doing to cause that ouch. We have to tell them. Marriage manuals don’t have a chapter on mind reading, so we have to work on doing a better job communicating with one another when we feel hurt by something our mates have done.
b. Forgiveness -- most wounds heal over time, of course, but they can leave a scar. Emotional "scar tissue" can accumulate over time and become significant enough to cause a real impediment to a happy relationship. Real forgiveness allows us to leave the past in the past. [Luke 17:3-4 (NKJV) "Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 "And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ’I repent,’ you shall forgive him."] We need to take those verses and apply them to the husband-wife relationship.
I. HOW WE HURT ONE ANOTHER
A. Critical words
1. "Sticks and stones . . . words never hurt" Yeah, right! Of course, words hurt. Some married people have become expert at using words as daggers cutting straight to their mates’ hearts.
2. However, we’re talking about ouches . . . and, for our purposes, we’re defining an ouch as an unintentional hurt. Smalley illustrates with a story about a couple he calls Jim and Sarah. They had just arrived at their vacation destination at the beach. Jim walked up, pinched Sarah on the side, and commented, "We’d better watch what we eat on this trip." Let’s give the guy the benefit of the doubt and take his words at face value. Many times people do eat too much on vacation and put on a few pounds. He included himself in the statement. Maybe that’s all he was saying -- let’s be careful to stay on our diets while we’re on vacation. But that’s not the way Sarah took it. She heard him saying, "You’re fat and ugly!" Five years later, she was still self-conscious about her appearance although she was not overweight.