Bitterness and Stinky Behavior

 Written By: Dewey Wilson, Ph.D.


The summer before my sophomore year in high school, we moved to the country, just outside our city’s limits. One reason was for me and my brother to attend a more rural high school setting, but also because both my parents were ready to get back to their roots in some small way. My dad and mom both had spent much of their childhood on a farm and one of the things they missed most about not living in the country was being able to plant vegetables. Needless to say, that summer I intimately learned how to plant and maintain a garden.

My father had a real love for onions. That first year, I remember mom rebuking him because he decided to plant 4 long rows of onions, each of them a different type or breed. Well, you know what happened next. After a couple of months, we were pulling onions out of the ground much faster than we could ever give them away. Not only did dad find a way to have those darn onions at every meal, there was always a sealed, plastic container in the refrigerator with an onion inside.

I’m sure it was only a few weeks, but it seemed like an eternity that everything in our refrigerator tasted like an onion. Every morning when I opened the refrigerator to get a drink, even the water I poured from the jug tasted like it had been filtered through a bushel of those stinking onions. The butter we put on our toast was onion flavored. Heck, we invented onion flavored bacon! We should’ve made millions!

All kidding aside, let’s think about this story and how it might apply to your marriage. Envision your marriage being a refrigerator and each thing inside represents some aspect or component of marriage. The butter might represent parenting. The cucumbers are your finances and maybe the lettuce is your conflict resolution. And just for grins, let’s say the salsa is your sex life. : ) Well . . .you get the picture. Oh, and the onion? Let’s consider for a minute that it represents what you tend to think about each of the above.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do we agree on how we should be raising our children? If not, what are my thoughts toward my husband or wife?
  2. Are we open and honest about how we manage our finances? If not, what are my thoughts toward my spouse?
  3. Is our communication positive and edifying more than not? If not, what are my thoughts toward my spouse in this area?
  4. Is our sex life healthy? If not, what are my thoughts toward my husband or wife?
  5. Do I feel loved or respected? If not, what are my thoughts toward my spouse?
  6. Are you content with how often you pray or read the Bible together? What are my thoughts toward my spouse in this area?

Proverbs 4:23 tells us that what we think in our heart tends to run our life. Ephesian 4:31 reminds us of just how important it is that we should put away all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking. The road to reconciliation and contentment is not paved with stinking thinking, but instead on the foundation of positive thoughts. The more you seal the lid on constantly thinking about everything your spouse does that stinks, the sooner everything in your marriage will stop stinking.