I hate chafing. I can’t say I deal with that often. But you know as well as I do, it’s frustrating. And if you are in a position where it occurs and you can’t deal with it right then and there…it’s complete misery.
Chafing refers to the irritation of skin caused by repetitive friction (thanks Wiki). One ministry I follow on twitter posted something a few weeks ago that has been percolating in my head. @mrgwrks tweeted this:
Those 89 characters stirred a thought: what do I do that chafes my spouse. What are the words/phrases that she hates? What type of mannerisms set her off? Are there habits I do that causes undo tension and anger?
I’m not talking about a slight irritation. Remember the definition. It is irritation caused by repetitive friction. “Chafing” comes when we repetitively and, sometimes, purposefully, cause friction to our spouses. I have noticed with couples, sometimes it’s done out of playful endeavors. “My wife says she hate to be tickled. But she likes it when I tickle her when she’s in a bad mood. She laughs every time.” Nope. She still doesn’t like it. She laughs because she’s ticklish. You’re not getting it. You’re the only one getting enjoyment and she’s the one getting chaffed.
Other times it for vengeful purposes. We’ll use “irritant” behavior to get back with our spouses. It’s our way of settling the score. We justify it because it feels so good to get the last word.
Either way, it becomes a selfish act. It’s our pride that refuses to change and/or notice the things that “chafe” our spouses. I’ve got an easy remedy for ya. It comes from an old video of one of my favorite comedians of all time: Bob Newhart.
The remedy to “spousal irritation” is simple: Just stop it!!!
Stop making excuses for the behavior. Stop saying it’s the way you’ve always been. Stop saying “this is the way my parents acted.” Just stop. You are not your parents. Your wife wasn’t raised like you. There are enough irritants out in the world. You shouldn’t be the source of it.
Here’s some help with some chaffing:
1. Admit the irritant. You know the phrase, mannerism, tone, etc that sets your spouse off. You probably don’t have to ask what it is. Just call it what it is.
2. Apologize. Seek forgiveness. Ephesians 4:32. Sincere apologies become the plow into the soil of your marriage. It preps you for growth. Without it, hearts remain hardened and calloused.
3. Pursue change. Galatians 5:7. Get rid of what’s preventing you from a healthy relationship with your spouse. Irritated areas usually need a change of atmosphere. We’ll call this the “baby powder” of the process. Find out what is affecting/influencing you. According to ehow.com’s “how to soothe chafing skin”, their first step is to rid yourself of clothing. The idea is to remove anything that is keeping moisture on your body. You need that type of mindset when you are taking personal inventory over your life. You have to look at yourself completely. Nothing hidden.
4. Wash thoroughly. Ephesians 5:26 talks about the “washing of the Word.” Get the Word of God into your life to challenge past and present thinking and behavior. Let it awaken your thoughts and shape every action.
5. Stay dry. In other words, take preventive measure to not allow space for the “irritant to come back. Proverbs 4:23. Guard yourself. Let your spouse guard you. Foster that type of humility, and you can prevent chaffing in your marriage.
Thanks for letting me ramble…