Take Offence at Nothing

So I recently picked up The Screwtape Letters when I realized it has been 6 years since my eyes graced the pages. Not only is this book an easy read, it is packed with spiritual conviction.

I share a passage early in the book that has got me thinking.

In civilised life domestic hatred usually expresses itself by saying things which would appear quite harmless on paper (the words are not offensive) but in such a voice, or at such a moment, that they are not far short of a blow in the face. To keep this game up you and Glubose must see to it that each of these two fools has a sort of double standard. Your patient must demand that all of his own utterances are to be taken at their face value and judged simply on the actual words, while at the same time judging all his mother’s utterances with the fullest and most oversensitive interpretation of the tone and context and the suspected intention. She must be encouraged to do the same to him Hence from every quarrel they can both go away convinced, or very nearly convinced, that they are quite innocent. You know the kind of things: “I simply ask her what time dinner will be and she flies into a temper.” Once this habit is firmly established you have the delightful situation of a human saying things with the express purpose of offending and yet having a a grievance when offence is taken.1

I have been married now for 6 years and I love my wife dearly. I know that I am guilty of the above. I say ‘innocent’ things at a time I know is not helpful in a tone I know she doesn’t like. Then when she gets angry I play dumb and get upset.

I am being entirely unfair to her and ultimately damaging myself by way of my marriage. This is totally not what I want to do. I want to be a good husband. One that my kids (when I have them) can look up to an see what a man should be like with his wife. I want to be a man of honour.

So I guess I step out, speak slowly, and try to watch my tone. I step out and do not take offence at the little things. I step out and love my wife as God meant her to be loved.

Wish me luck.

1The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. Touchstone, New York 1961.


~ by curtismchale on August 1, 2009.

2 Responses to “Take Offence at Nothing”

  1. Great quote.

  2. Wow..
    This cut right through so many problems I have been having recently.
    And made me feel extremely convicted, and at the same time,
    This will most definately make a diference in how I interact with my wife.
    I think we might need to do a study, as a couple of Screwtape, and see how it moves in our hearts.
    Thank you..
    Feel free to e-mail me sometime..

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