Yes. We have all been there. Your Spouse has done something you don’t like and for an hour, a day, a week, you are Keeping Malice. Now let’s just cut straight to the chase.
What is Malice in the first place. “Malice is defined as bad will or the desire to do bad things to another person.An example of malice is when you hate someone and want to seek revenge.” active ill will; desire to harm another or to do mischief; spite, A desire to harm others or to see others suffer; extreme ill will or spite. This means that malice only incites suffering and will attract the desire to do evil to your spouse. In extreme Malice, a couple can be in the same house for up to four weeks or months and would not speak to each other, not sleep in the same room, not do ANYTHING together until someone is humble enough to break the silence. And in their reconciliation they would blame each other for being responsible for the malice instead of focusing on the problem and how to prevent it happening in future. In my home this happened for some seasons on and off and I can tell you that the damages it cost to our marriage and regrets for not realizing early how we were silently ‘killing’ each other and destroying our home.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32
As this was and is sometimes a problem in my marriage, and I tend to keep malice sometimes, and my wife sometimes, I had to find out and research more about this issue in order to find a way to solve it. I am sure many couples out there go through the same thing and would like to get a lasting solution to this problem.
Let’s me try to explain malice in the way I have seen it in my marriage and how other couples display it.
We can categorize them into Four levels of malice;
One Sided Malice, Partial Malice, Quasi-Malice and Total Malice.
1. One-sided malice is common; in this case only one partner is ‘interested’ in the malice. It is often displayed by giving the other partner the silent treatment displayed by indifference when the other partner is asking a question or trying to discuss something. The best thing to do here is to always exercise forgiveness. Just like you, your partner is not perfect. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15. Once you have forgiven, let it go.
2. In partial malice, the man usually continues to meet his responsibilities like pay the bills, give money for housekeep, take kids to school, do house chores etc. but all forms of communication is restricted to “Yes” or “No”, often not more than two syllables responses. If there must be a conversation, it will either be because it is necessary or a third party is presence which the couple does not what to give an impression of what is going on.Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Col 3:12-14
3.Quasi- Malice can have all the attitudes mentioned above but will not want to be engaged in a verbal conversation. Instead the couple can use sign languages, ignoring each other, or resorting to communicating through text messages, scribbling notes and posting in places in the house where the partner can find it. Quasi-malice also engages the children to convey messages to each other. Usually the couple waits for who will break the silence and can linger for a long time especially if both of the couple thinks they are right at whatever started the malice.Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Ephesians 4:26
It’s ok to be upset if your spouse does something you don’t like but you must never let it take root until it becomes a sin.
4. Total Malice is like a full blown cancer, it can badly damage a marriage as the partners could go find satisfaction elsewhere because they don’t want to ask it from the spouse. There is the absolute breakdown of communication, the partners do not relate with each other and totally avoid crossing each other’s path. They could sleep in separate bedrooms and stop eating from same table; they become mere roommates. They no longer bother about each other’s welfare and may not care if a third party notices that there’s a rift between them.
There are so many negative that could befall a marriage and could affect the children if malice is allowed to take root. I have personal testimonies of how negatively malice can damage a marriage and this is one of the major reasons we started this Blog, because we want to find lasting solutions and share them with other couples who are having similar challenges because Noone ever prepares you for it or talks about it openly.
This is very very important – Never allow a misunderstand to go beyond a day, it gets more difficult to handle when bitterness sets in.
When malice is allowed to take root, it is the man sometimes all accusing fingers points to because it is often men who find it difficult to come to terms with their mistakes and also find it difficult to apologize. I havr been accused by my wife of not apologizing even when I have done wrong, and it’s very true and a very bad thing. Pride or male ego prevents most husbands from conceding to their wives. In God’s order, the man is head of the home and the leadership role rests on him, he must therefore ensure peace in his home. He must deliberately guard against strife because God holds him responsible for anything and everything that goes wrong in that family and with his wife. This is the point I learnt very late in my marriage and I am still working on this area.
A man must be careful to prevent strife and anything that would give access to the enemy to destroy his home.A woman is designed to follow the lead of her husband and would only go as far as he allows her. If she wants to keep malice and the husband disallows it, she would eventually respond to you and your relationship will be restored.
Being a leader is difficult, and thus as the Man of the house, it is your leadership that allows or disallows malice in the home.
Wilbert Frank Chaniwa – Talking Marriage Today