Maybe you’ve heard this before… “Would you just ‘calm down?'”
Words that have never been more insulting than when you are looking at your spouse who has just hurt you again or continues to hurt you over and over. It’s an easy defense to say that you’re just “overreacting,” but what if you are? How would you know if you are?
No Such Thing As an Overreaction – An Emotional Perspective
If we are looking at conflict from a human perspective, there is a lot that is going on from a physical, intellectual, physiological and biological standpoint. There are neurochemicals and hormones that flood our bodies. Without understanding and managing our own responses, things can sometimes get “out of control.” John and Julie Gottman would suggest that there is no such thing as an emotional overreaction to conflict. You simply feel what you feel. Now, if you were to become angry and throw a chair across the room – that’s a different article.
A Wise Response – A Biblical Perspective
James 4 begins with a question:
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you… You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.”
When you look at your marriage and ruminate on unmet needs or desires we can fall into a trap of placing that need above anything and everything else in our lives. This is what James is addressing with his word of “covet.”
So How Do You Know?
Your needs and desires are not inherently bad or even sinful, but wanting your needs met over joyfully loving our God or spouse is a form of idolatry causing us to covet and ultimately sinning against our spouse and God. So you’re not necessarily “overreacting,” you’re sinning.
Consider Before Speaking – Humility over Pride
Whether you are longing for your spouse to speak your “Love Language” or you simply would like a warm embrace at the end of the day or just the trash to be taken out – your needs are valid, but addressing your legitimate needs should not come at cost of sinning against your spouse or turning away from your sovereign Lord.
Some issues experienced in relationships require adequate and appropriate redirection and rebuke. These issues can be difficult to navigate and sometimes require wise counsel from a pastor or professional. James goes on to say,
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
Draw near to the Lord. It is in Him where you find your rest. It is in Him where you find your refuge. It is in Him where you find your strength. It is in Him where you find your comfort. It is in Him where you find your worth and value. It is in Him where you find your purpose. It is Him who loves unconditionally and perfectly. Draw near to the Lord and He will draw near to you.