3 Games You Should Never Play With Your Spouse

Although we start off this episode of Marriage After God with some laughter, we dive deep into a few games you should never play in marriage such as the silent game/cold shoulder. Manipulation and anger can be a dangerous fuel that destroys a marriage relationship. We want to challenge you to avoid these types of games and also to be more playful in marriage by playing board games with each other.

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**Also check out these posts I did about fun games to play together: 


Aaron Smith: Hey, we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God.

Jennifer Smith: Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

Aaron Smith: And today we’re gonna talk about three games you should never play with your spouse.
Hey, thanks for joining us today. Before we get started, please make sure to hit the subscribe button, and hit the bell next to the button so that you get notified every time we launch a new video. So, today we’re gonna talk about three games you should never play with your spouse.

Jennifer Smith: This is a really serious topic, guys, so … Let’s just get down to business.

Aaron Smith: Yeah, so we’re just gonna go right into the games, because this is important. What’s the first game that you should never play-

Jennifer Smith: Okay, the first one you should never play with your spouse is Catan. You know why?

Aaron Smith: Settlers of Catan.

Jennifer Smith: Because at some point they are going to block your roads, or they’re not gonna trade with you, and the rejection hurts, and it’s really, and it just makes you so frustrated the entire game.

Aaron Smith: Well, more importantly, when one of you wins more often than the other, it really hurts the moral of the marriage. I usually end up winning more often than you do. Well, you always try and go for longest road, and it takes you time, and I get the cards … Or is that me that …

Jennifer Smith: Anyways, we should move on to number two.

Aaron Smith: Well, no. I don’t know about you guys, if you’ve ever played Catan, we end up usually getting in a … I wouldn’t say a fight-

Jennifer Smith: Okay, we’re really competitive, so we just really enjoy winning, and so yes. Sometimes our strategies don’t consider the other person’s emotional well being.

Aaron Smith: And it’s kind of embarrassing sometimes because you usually have another couple over playing it with you-

Jennifer Smith: Yeah, we’re usually playing it with someone else.

Aaron Smith: And they’re sitting back like this.

Jennifer Smith: It gets real quiet.

Aaron Smith: And it gets real quiet. That’s not just … We’re not the only ones that do that.

Jennifer Smith: I don’t know. Maybe.

Aaron Smith: Okay, well let’s … Catan. I would just avoid it at all costs. It’s not worth it, I promise. What’s the next game they should never play with their spouse?

Jennifer Smith: The second one is Phase 10. I don’t know if you guys have played Phase 10 before, but-

Aaron Smith: This game is evil.

Jennifer Smith: Oh man, this one goes way back in our marriage. We’ve been married for over a decade now, and the first year when we found out about this game …

Aaron Smith: You know what it does? It promotes division. When you skip me, and I’m like, I’m four phases behind, and it’s just because-

Jennifer Smith: You get so mad, and it’s just a game.

Aaron Smith: I’m not even a threat at that point. I’m four phases behind and you skip me, and I’m just … I sit there and I think, “You must hate me.” We’re not … You’re my wife, and you should-

Jennifer Smith: And I love you. And I love to win. So, just the point of this game is there’s just no mercy, you know? People just keep ending the phase no matter where the new one’s at-

Aaron Smith: And you suck at … And you’re not one, because you’re like on phase nine, and I’m on phase six. It’s not great.

Jennifer Smith: And really no amount of hinting helps, because there have been so many times … Not the times that I’ve skip you, but the times that I’m actually behind and I hint at you like, I kind of see your hand or something, and I basically hint at you to leave the right card, and you look at me-

Aaron Smith: And then I don’t-

Jennifer Smith: No, no, you look at me a certain way, and then you put the … On purpose, you put a different card down.

Aaron Smith: Well, because you want me to cheat. I’m not gonna cheat. Even for my wife.

Jennifer Smith: Okay, all right.

Aaron Smith: You know what’s even more frustrating?

Jennifer Smith: Don’t play Phase 10.

Aaron Smith: We’ve literally played this game wrong for the last 11 years. We just learned last week-

Jennifer Smith: We just found out we were playing it wrong.

Aaron Smith: I guess when you’re getting runs of numbers, you don’t have to have all the same color, and I thought that you did. We both did. We hated this game, so don’t ever play this game.

Jennifer Smith: I don’t know why we kept playing it for so long.

Aaron Smith: I don’t know either.

Jennifer Smith: Okay.

Aaron Smith: Let’s move on to the next one. So, don’t play Phase 10 with your spouse. Ever.

Jennifer Smith: The next one is just a general category of partner games. So, these are games like Pictionary, or Cranium, or Heads Up, and-

Aaron Smith: One where if your partner’s not the greatest at drawing pictures, or acting out things, or making sound effects-

Jennifer Smith: Or understanding you.

Aaron Smith: Or drawing.

Jennifer Smith: And understanding, you know, how you are trying to communicate to get an answer.

Aaron Smith: Yeah, so usually we’ll be on separate teams because-

Jennifer Smith: It just gets really frustrating, really fast. Okay.

Aaron Smith: So, in all reality, I hope this has been funny. Of course we’re not telling you to really not play these games with your spouse. We actually love playing games.

Jennifer Smith: Catan, or Catan, depending on where you’re from in the country. No, just kidding.

Aaron Smith: In the Midwest …

Jennifer Smith: That is one of our favorite games, and-

Aaron Smith: Catarn if you’re in the south.

Jennifer Smith: We do love to play that game, and we love to play all of these games that we’re going to show you because we really have found that it’s important to cultivate just that environment of playfulness in your marriage.

Aaron Smith: It’s that whole brotherly love aspect. I know that doesn’t sound very feminine in your marriage, but the idea is that there is a comradery, a friendship in our marriage, and playing games, even in our hardest times, we still played games. Our fights during those games were worse.

Jennifer Smith: Yeah, definitely worse. Definitely took things more personal.

Aaron Smith: We’ve gotten tamer. Tame-ish, I should say. Over the years.

Jennifer Smith: Here’s the great thing. When you play together, and it’s just a lighthearted game, you actually are learning communication with one another, you’re spending quality time with each other.

Aaron Smith: And you know what? More often than not, I actually don’t think we play games by ourselves. We’re always with another couple, and it’s-

Jennifer Smith: Yeah, which makes it fun.

Aaron Smith: It’s a great opportunity instead of just sitting and watching a movie with some friends, or just having a meal, we actually get to play a game with our friends, and then we get to see how they interact too. It’s usually really funny.

Jennifer Smith: Yeah, and if you don’t wanna fight throughout the game, you can always flirt with each other, which is cute.

Aaron Smith: Which happens sometimes. We should try that next time.

Jennifer Smith: We should try that next time.

Aaron Smith: We’ll surprise most of our friends. They’ll be like, “Who are you guys again?” So, we just wanted to encourage you guys that this is not what today’s topic is about necessarily. But we wanted to encourage you guys to be playing, be playful, be friends with your spouse and build that friendship. Build that comradery, that brotherly love amongst you and your spouse.

Jennifer Smith: Because I will say, if you have been married for any amount of time, sometimes you get stuck in this routine of just you know your part, he knows his part, and you guys are just doing it, and you-

Aaron Smith: Yeah, work, home, meals, bed.

Jennifer Smith: It’s all business and work, and we just wanna be an encouragement and a challenge to you today, to make sure that you are having fun in your marriage, and that you’re spending quality time through playing games.

Aaron Smith: And laughing with each other.

Jennifer Smith: Yeah, laughing-

Aaron Smith: And getting competitive sometimes.

Jennifer Smith: Yeah.

Aaron Smith: Healthy competition.

Jennifer Smith: In a healthy way.

Aaron Smith: We sometimes … We need to work on that. I’ll just say that.

Jennifer Smith: Fierce Marriage had a really good quote that I love, and it said more playing, less arguing.

Aaron Smith: That’s a good one.

Jennifer Smith: That’s really good.

Aaron Smith: So, next time you get in a fight, say, “We’re pulling out the Phase 10. We’re gonna settle this like adults.”

Jennifer Smith: Okay, really quick. Just list off some of your favorite games that you like to play.

Aaron Smith: Catan, Dominion, Blockus, Phase 10, oh I love … We like card games a lot. Rummi, Hearts, Spades, any game that I can sit and think about. If it’s a fast game, like Nerds or something like that-

Jennifer Smith: Dutch Blitz?

Aaron Smith: I just wanna throw everything off the table, so I don’t play those games.

Jennifer Smith: I think … I like them. I think more girls like those kind of fast paced games.

Aaron Smith: Yeah, not me.

Jennifer Smith: Monopoly Deal’s a really good one.

Aaron Smith: Oh, Monopoly Deal. Oh, what was that … Sushi.

Jennifer Smith: Sushi’s really fun.

Aaron Smith: Sushi’s another card game. That’s a fun one. So, anyways.

Jennifer Smith: Real quick, also Bible Trivia, which you can find pretty much at any Goodwill … We found three of these bad boys at our local Goodwill.

Aaron Smith: We realized how little we know about the bible.

Jennifer Smith: Okay, hold on. First we opened it up and we got so excited about it. We had the kids in the car, and we start reading through cards-

Aaron Smith: She just pulls cards out. She’s like, “What”-

Jennifer Smith: And we’re answering them left and right, and we’re like, “This is actually kinda easy.”

Aaron Smith: We’re like, “Dang, we know the bible.”

Jennifer Smith: Yeah, maybe it’s because it’s really old version, like the bible changed or something. But then we quickly realized that we were reading the kids versions of the cards.

Aaron Smith: Yeah, we were reading all the children’s questions.

Jennifer Smith: And the adult ones were pretty challenging.

Aaron Smith: I don’t think we got any of them. It was asking like, the third king of Israel’s name was … Or like …

Jennifer Smith: Okay, so in all reality-

Aaron Smith: Which was Solomon, by the way.

Jennifer Smith: We want to encourage you guys to be playing games with each other. We’re gonna list some games in the show notes, just so that you guys can check them out if you don’t have them already. A lot of the games that we’ll list are also great to play with your family. Just, if you have kids that are able to play. And if you’re the type of couple that you’re sitting there watching this, and you’re going, “We don’t play games. We’ll never play games”, there’s hope for you, because we had friends that absolutely hated games. Every time we encouraged them or invited them over to play a game, they’d decline.

Aaron Smith: They’re like, “No games.”

Jennifer Smith: But they found one that they really like, called Heads Up, and they got a bunch of people to play it, so there’s hope for you.

Aaron Smith: You just gotta find the right-

Jennifer Smith: Keep trying.

Aaron Smith: Game. So, let’s get into the actual topic, the three games that you should actually never play with your spouse, and it took us a little bit to write these down. We wanted to get the right terms, we wanted to get the right words, but these are actual games you should never play in your marriage with your spouse. They’re damaging, they break oneness, they are destructive, and to be honest, they’re wicked in nature. Just because it comes out of walking in the flesh, and not walking in the spirit.
So, let’s actually get into the three games that we shouldn’t talk about. The first one is the silent treatment game.

Jennifer Smith: Or cold shoulder.

Aaron Smith: Or cold shoulder. This is a game that we should never play, and we were actually experts at it early on in our marriage, and still get tempted with it in little spats and disagreements we have. It is easy to get to a I don’t like where this is going, I don’t like what I’m hearing-

Jennifer Smith: I’m just gonna shut off.

Aaron Smith: And boom. I’m off. Good luck, do it on your own.

Jennifer Smith: Yeah.

Aaron Smith: You’ve struggled with it a lot more than I have, but I get there even too. I get to this point where I’m like, I don’t know what to do. And I’m like, “Well, I want you to feel it, and I’m gonna be like okay, bye. And I’m gonna walk away from the conversation”, which is super disrespectful. And super rude. But we’ve done it, haven’t we?

Jennifer Smith: We have, yeah.

Aaron Smith: Do you feel like the silent treatment has ever solved the issue at hand the way you wanted it to?

Jennifer Smith: No, it definitely hasn’t. And I think the reason why my heart is prone to that shutting off is because I get flustered. Sometimes when we’re in a argument, I can’t think fast enough, I can’t remember what happened, or I can’t remember what was said, or-

Aaron Smith: And it’s usually wrapped up in emotions, and feelings, and I’m just like …

Jennifer Smith: Definitely. So, overwhelmed that it’s almost like everything is just churned up inside, and I can’t deal with it right now, and so I just wanna shut that off, and sometimes there is an appropriate time where if an argument’s happening, that you need like a cool down, but this is different. What we’re talking about is you’re not even giving them the courtesy of saying, “I’m not even gonna finish this right now.” You’re literally just cutting off, walking away. I found myself that I have, because of access to the iPhone, I’ll just start looking at my phone. You’ve actually done this too. You just start scrolling, or-

Aaron Smith: Like, I’m out. I’m checking out.

Jennifer Smith: Yeah.

Aaron Smith: I’m gonna do something else now.

Jennifer Smith: Either one of us will be like, “Are we done here?” You know? So-

Aaron Smith: And it’s a way of controlling. You feel like you’re losing control.

Jennifer Smith: Yeah.

Aaron Smith: You feel like you’re losing. And you’re like, “Oh, I’m gonna pull my silent treatment card.”

Jennifer Smith: At the same time, it’s also this way of escape. Like, you just wanna escape this awful moment that you’re dealing with, with the person that you do love, and you just wanna get out of there.

Aaron Smith: Yeah.

Jennifer Smith: You just don’t wanna be there.

Aaron Smith: So, let’s just read some scriptures on this, because we wanna have the bible’s mind on how we should be … I couldn’t find scriptures on directly speaking into silent treatment. Like, don’t have silent treatment games with your spouse. I didn’t find any scriptures on that.

Jennifer Smith: But there are plenty of scriptures that talk about showing each other love and respect, and-

Aaron Smith: Mutual respect, and so, let’s look at in James 1 verse 19. It says, “Know this, my beloved brothers. Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” So, this is the first one that I wanted to pull out for this idea of how we should be interacting in our marriage. Not just during disagreements, but all the time. But what happens, the silent treatment, that always is gonna …
That cold shoulder. That, I’m gonna shut down, comes from not wanting to listen, right? And the bible tells us to be quick to listen. Not quick to shut down and just stop talking, but quick to listen, and slow to speak. So, I know this kinda might give grounds for, well then I should be silent. No, it’s a … This is a posture toward the conversation, not a posture away from the conversation. This is a, I’m going to yield my spirit and my oneness to my spouse, and I’m gonna be slow to speak, and I’m gonna be quick to listen. And I’m gonna be slow to anger.

Jennifer Smith: I was gonna say, that second part too really plays a role in this.

Aaron Smith: Yeah. The silent treatment, I’m mad, I’m done.

Jennifer Smith: You’re motivated by your anger.

Aaron Smith: Where the first portion of that verse, the slow to speak, and the quick to listen is motivated by love. It’s saying I want to reconcile in the situation. Not just win.

Jennifer Smith: Right.

Aaron Smith: Which I have a hard time with, and I may not do the silent treatment, but I do other things in our arguments to win, instead of have reconciliation. So, just thinking through this, are you being slow to speak, slow to be angry, and quick to listen? Rather than shutting down, I’m gonna use my silent treatment to control my spouse, I don’t like what they’re doing, therefore I’m gonna shut down, and I know they’re gonna feel it because there’s nothing more disrespectful than you’re in the middle of something, and boom. I’m off. I’m not listening, I’m done, I’m out of here.
And you used to even leave the room, slam the door-

Jennifer Smith: Oh yeah. But after you kind of reprimanded me about that, and letting me know how bad it hurt you, I did stop doing that.

Aaron Smith: Right. And it isn’t sometimes until we actually say it out loud that you’re like whoa, I didn’t even realize I was doing it. But recognize that if you’re doing that, if you’re shutting down in an argument, or in a conversation, or in a discussion that feels heated, or you’re not getting your way, recognize you’re probably not walking in the spirit, you’re probably operating out of anger, being quick to anger instead of slow to anger, and are you being quick to listen rather than quick to speak.
I’m usually quick to speak, and slow to listen. And I usually do the opposite of what James 1:9 says.

Jennifer Smith: I think, too, depending on your personality, you can make the silent treatment or cold shoulder a very dramatic thing. Some people do that. Like how you said, I would slam a door, you know? That was me shutting off-

Aaron Smith: Yeah, because you wanted me to see how angry you were.

Jennifer Smith: And I wanted you to know that I’m checking out, but I think that other people, you know, for other people could be a really subtle thing that they just kind of do it quickly but subtly.

Aaron Smith: Yeah, the subtle ones can be even more devastating sometimes, because I’m like, “Wait a minute. Where are you at?”

Jennifer Smith: The person doesn’t know-

Aaron Smith: Yeah. And it’s intentional-

Jennifer Smith: To leave them guessing.

Aaron Smith: Obfuscation of the … Of what’s happening. So, the second verse I wanna bring up about this is Ephesians 4:32. It says this. It says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” So, that just is on top of being slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to listen, is are we being kind to one another? Are we being tenderhearted?

Jennifer Smith: I love that word and phrase, tenderhearted, because I think it gives really good imagery for how our hearts are supposed to be in relation to our spouse, and-

Aaron Smith: Would you say doing the silent treatment is tenderhearted?

Jennifer Smith: Absolutely not. I think-

Aaron Smith: Or cold hearted?

Jennifer Smith: It’s stone cold hearted.

Aaron Smith: It’s hard.

Jennifer Smith: It’s very hard, and-

Aaron Smith: It’s closing versus opening.

Jennifer Smith: And for those listening, you can feel that. You guys know exactly what we’re talking about, this difference between having a stone heart and having a tender heart. A tender heart is there to listen, to understand, to have a posture that cultivates reconciliation, which is really important.

Aaron Smith: Yeah. So, that’s the first game you should never play with your spouse, and there’s two more. There’s plenty of other games, I would imagine, but there’s two more we wanna talk … But the next game we wanna talk about is the retaliation game.

Jennifer Smith: Which I’ve played this one very often, which I’m not proud of. I didn’t … There’s a lot of times I didn’t realize I was doing it, but that notion of you hurt me, therefore I’m gonna hurt you.

Aaron Smith: Yeah, tit for tat. I want you to feel the way you made me feel. I want you to experience what you made me experience. I want you to understand what I had to deal with. And so, it’s vengeful-

Jennifer Smith: It’s very vengeful, yeah.

Aaron Smith: It’s retaliation. It’s, I’m going to get you back. And you know what? We do this with our sin. There was times when, because of where we were sexually in our intimacy life, in our marriage, I would vengefully go partake in pornography, because I was angry at you. Because you shut me down once again. Because I felt like you didn’t try once again, and I gave myself an excuse to break God’s heart, and break the law, and break oneness in our marriage, because I thought that I was allowed to do that, because I thought you did something to me. And so, I would go vengefully, dip into sin-

Jennifer Smith: As you’re talking, I can totally relate to this, and I know we’ve shared with them a little bit about your pornography addiction and how I’ve wrestled with food, and as you’re talking about this, I’m thinking, “I’ve totally done this with food”, where I’m emotionally just frustrated, or angry because of something you said, or did, or-

Aaron Smith: How I’m being.

Jennifer Smith: How you’re being, or whatever the issue is in our relationship at the moment-

Aaron Smith: If you found out that I messed up in pornography again.

Jennifer Smith: Whatever. I would leave to go get something that would make me feel good. A treat, a special drink-

Aaron Smith: Yeah, you would go, yeah.

Jennifer Smith: Yeah. So, I’ve totally done this before.

Aaron Smith: You’d go fulfill your own fleshly desires with food, and you justified it because of what I did, which was a very vengeful … “Oh, you know what? He can’t say nothing to me because he’s doing this. I’m gonna go do this.”

Jennifer Smith: Yeah, which is really dangerous. I mean-

Aaron Smith: Well, because first of all, nothing anyone does gives us permission to sin. That’s what we have to remember. Just talking on the revenge side of me going to sin, because of what my wife did, I’m not gonna be able to stand before my Father in heaven one day and be like, “Well, Jennifer …” And he’s gonna be like, “Well, Jennifer what?” You made that choice. That’s like in the garden of Eden when Eve ate of the fruit, and God comes and he’s like, “What’d you do?” And he’s like … He actually goes to Adam, “What’d you do?” And he’s like, “That woman you gave me caused me to do this.” And he goes to Eve and she’s like, “That serpent tricked me.”
Everyone keeps passing the blame of what they did. It doesn’t work that way. God actually disciplined all of them for their own actions, not for the actions of others. And so, nothing my wife does gives permission to me to go sin.

Jennifer Smith: You actually said something a while ago, just in terms of your obedience is not dependent on someone else’s actions and that really stuck with me, because it’s exactly what you’re saying where, just because somebody does something to me, or you do something to me, it doesn’t give me the right to be disobedient to God. That’s my relationship with him.

Aaron Smith: Well, let’s take this to a more sensitive level … That we haven’t been sensitive already. But you know, I feel like you’re not respecting me as you should, that you’re not honoring me as the bible has told you to, so therefore, I’m going to not love you. You know, I’m not gonna give you the love that the bible’s commanded me to give you, to love you as Christ loves the church, giving himself up for her, washing her with the water by the word, right?
I’m not gonna do that, because you’re not upholding your end of the bargain, so therefore I’m not gonna give you what you need. Or, which happens more commonly, I’m … You feel like I’m not loving you well, as you deserve, as the bible tells me, so you don’t honor me. You don’t respect me. You don’t submit to me. You don’t do the things that the bible has called you to do, because you think I don’t deserve it. So, essentially, like we talked about before, you’re walking in sin, I’m walking in sin because of what my partner is doing, what my wife is doing, what your husband is doing?
And that doesn’t give us a right to retaliate. And so, the bible actually speaks into this, and many different aspects, this idea of retaliation. You know, it says to not seek out revenge because the Lord is the one that does that. But interpersonally, we can look at this in Romans chapter 12, verse 16 through 18 says this, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
So, these scriptures that I’ve been reading, they apply it to the global church. Like, all of us in the body of Christ, but how much do they apply it within the marriage?

Jennifer Smith: Yeah.

Aaron Smith: So, we do everything we can to live at peace. Everything that’s in our power, and so if it’s in our power to not retaliate, that’s something that we could be doing. And then on the other hand it says to not repay evil for evil. So, let’s say I’m being evil, as in I’m not walking in the commands of the Lord, I am not submitting to the word of God by loving you and cherishing you as the word commands me to … In Ephesians 5 it doesn’t say if your wife does X Y Z, then you must do X Y Z.

Jennifer Smith: No, it says you do this.

Aaron Smith: Or vice versa. It says wives submit to your husbands.

Jennifer Smith: And that’s just your part.

Aaron Smith: Husbands love your wives.

Jennifer Smith: That’s what you’re supposed to do. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Aaron Smith: They’re irregardless of what the other person does. Now, it’s the best when they’re walking in unity in that, and obedience in the scripture, but it’s not always the case, especially … We’ve walked in disobedience on many occasions. Almost daily sometimes, we have to like remind ourselves of what the bible says, but we don’t repay evil for evil. So, you’re not honoring me, you’re not submitting to me, you’re not respecting me, I don’t get a right to say, “Well, until you do that, I’m not gonna love you as Christ loves the church.” There you go.

Jennifer Smith: In fact, how much more powerful if I am being that way, and you still choose to cherish me, and honor me, and love me, it’s gonna be really hard for me to continue that-

Aaron Smith: I promise you-

Jennifer Smith: Perspective.

Aaron Smith: Any husband who loves their wive as Christ loves the church, giving himself up for her, that means his passions, his desires, his hobbies, for the sake of her wellbeing, her spirituality, her emotional security, her spiritual security, it would be very hard.

Jennifer Smith: It’s kinda like when-

Aaron Smith: Very hard for a woman to remain in that state with a husband doing that.

Jennifer Smith: I just go this picture of a garden, right? And soil has to have certain pH, and certain nutrients, in order for plants to grown, and it’s the job of the gardener to tend to that, and to make sure that it’s not a toxic environment that’s gonna kill off the plants, right? But I think so easily, we can tend our marriage garden and destroy the atmosphere-

Aaron Smith: Yeah, we keep poisoning each other.

Jennifer Smith: And poisoning each other, right? Instead of-

Aaron Smith: Instead of bringing in nutrients, and water, and healthy soil.

Jennifer Smith: Exactly, yeah.

Aaron Smith: No, that’s a good analogy.

Jennifer Smith: Yeah.

Aaron Smith: So, that’s a game you should never play. If you’re in that cycle of retaliation, like I’m gonna do this because they did that, I’m gonna walk in that because they’re walking in that, you’re just going to kill your marriage.

Jennifer Smith: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And just know that this retaliation is a perspective. It’s a mind thing. So, when you start to think those ways of well he hurt me, and I want him to hurt just as bad, or vice versa. You need to stop yourself and transform your mind through the word. So, you need to get out this verse, you need to get out other verses that will help transform your mind.

Aaron Smith: Mediate on them.

Jennifer Smith: And meditate on them.

Aaron Smith: Repeat them over and over again.

Jennifer Smith: Put them on a 3 by 5 card, put them on your mirror in your bathroom, put them on your dashboard so that you can walk in the spirit, and not in your own flesh, and the wrong perspective of retaliation.

Aaron Smith: Yeah, I promise you … And I know you’re feeling like, well how can I just start doing that because they are so this way? Well, first of all, the bible tells us how to be, and I promise you, being the way the bible tells you to be is a safer environment, is a healthier environment for your marriage to be in, even if only one of you is doing it. This is doing what the bible says is the way that we see transformation in our marriages, in our lives, and begin to pray. Pray for your spouse that they would walk in that.
That’s what it tells us. It says pray for our enemies.

Jennifer Smith: Yeah. And the word of God, it’s living and it’s active, so the more that we’re in it, the more that we’re reading it and meditating on it, it really does transform us. It’s not stagnant in our life. It moves, it changes us.

Aaron Smith: Be transformed by the renewing of our minds, and the way we renew our minds is we let the word of God do it. We wash ourselves in it. And the husbands are supposed to wash their wives in it, in the word of God.

Jennifer Smith: Yeah.

Aaron Smith: So, let’s move on to the last game that you should never play with your spouse.

Jennifer Smith: Okay, the last one is word games. So, it’s using your words to make your spouse feel a certain way, to twist a certain situation for your favor, to say things like, “I don’t like how you said that.” Or, “I don’t like what you said.” So, all those different little ways-

Aaron Smith: Yeah, using our words to control, manipulate, to incite in your spouse a certain thing. The one that comes out often is like, you’re being just like your … Or stop acting like … And those things that we … Not that they’re true-

Jennifer Smith: They’re like triggers. They’re like buttons that we know we’re gonna get them-

Aaron Smith: They’re intentionally to hurt. They’re like fiery darts that the enemy uses, you know? The enemy uses fiery darts to get us, but like, our words … In James, it talks about our tongue being a tiny little thing, but it sets our whole body on fire. It sets everything on fire. It’s destructive in its nature if we use our words that way. So, the scripture that I wanna bring up, that helps illustrate this idea pretty powerfully is Proverbs 18:21. It says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
And so, what this is saying is that our tongue can do both life and death in how we speak into someone, and you guys know this. Whether you’re a husband or a wife, you know that you can actually very quickly destroy your spouse.

Jennifer Smith: Some of you may have even experienced where you say that thing where in your mind, right before you’re about to say it, you think I probably shouldn’t say this right now, but you say it anyways because you’re motivated by anger, and you see the countenance on your spouse just change.

Aaron Smith: Disappear. They go white.

Jennifer Smith: Drop.

Aaron Smith: You know … I’ve done this. I’ve immediately seen you be crushed under the weight of my words, and that’s how powerful they are. And so, if you’re playing games with your words, and to be honest, we get emails all the time of wives saying that they’re being emotionally abused, and often the emotional abuse comes in the form of words. You know, am I using my words to bring life? Or to bring death? And we call it a game, but it’s a dangerous game. We think that we can just say what we want and then just ask for forgiveness, and then it’s not gonna have a lasting effect, but that’s not true because it tells us that the word of God goes out and does not come back void. The word of God is powerful. It’s a written testimony of God, inspired by God himself, by his spirit.
And the power that this thing contains, is literally life. And our own words, because we’re made in his likeness, have power as well. And I’m not talking about the kind of power that you name it, claim it, and grab it out of the sky type power. I’m talking about in my wife’s life, and in other people’s lives, my words could literally build her up into a woman of God, or they could tear her down into a pile of dust-

Jennifer Smith: Which I, and probably you listening, have experienced maybe both, where there have been times where you’ve said things that, like you said, have totally crushed me-

Aaron Smith: And I’ve seen it, and I immediately try and back pedal, and grab all the words that came out of my mouth, and I can’t.

Jennifer Smith: You can’t, yeah. And then there’s other times where one simple encouragement, or thank you, or appreciation makes me just the most cherished wife.

Aaron Smith: It makes you feel like you’re flying.

Jennifer Smith: Yeah. I’m just happy, and joyful.

Aaron Smith: And here’s the power behind words, is … The bible tells us that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. What’s in our hearts comes out of our mouths.

Jennifer Smith: And I think that’s why it’s so hard for when you say I was trying to back pedal or take those words back, I feel like one of the reasons why you can’t is because your spouse knows that somewhere in your heart-

Aaron Smith: I meant it.

Jennifer Smith: You meant it.

Aaron Smith: And that’s true. We don’t just say things. I don’t just walk around the house and call my kids names. I just don’t. That’s not anywhere in my heart. So, if that ever comes out, that means that there’s somewhere in my heart I think that. So, if you’re not having control of your words … There is no justification for just letting things come out of your mouth, and having zero control over your words, and controlling your tongue.

Jennifer Smith: Yeah, growing up, in my childhood, I remember people saying hurtful things and then it being justified as oh, so and so didn’t mean it. Or they were just playing, but it still hurts.

Aaron Smith: And it hurts deep, because we live by words. So, this last game, the word game, playing these games with your spouse, it’s death in your home. And these are three games that you should never play.

Jennifer Smith: And here’s the thing is they’re a choice. You don’t have to walk around thinking well that’s just who I am, or that’s just the way I operate, or that’s just my response because of the situation I’ve been given in my marriage. No. You have a choice to walk out your part in what God says throughout his word about who you are, and what your responsibility is.

Aaron Smith: Yeah. So, we thank you for joining us today. I pray that you would take these games, not the first games we talked about, but these bad games, these wicked games, and that you would evaluate your life and see if you’re playing any of these. And if you are, repent of it today. Just ask the Lord, say, “Lord, change me today. I don’t wanna walk in this anymore.” I promise you, if you’re one that usually use words, or you retaliate, or you play the silent treatment, and you stop doing that and you do the opposite, your spouse will notice it right away.
And if you’re watching this together, you guys should have a talk about this.

Jennifer Smith: I was gonna say, even if they’re not watching this with each other, maybe you can share this with your spouse, and have a conversation about it. Ask them, “Do I do any one of these three things that hurt you?” And help bring the realization and the reality to your relationship, so that you can fix it.

Aaron Smith: And let the word of God transform those areas of your life. We never wanna come off and pretend that we’ve figured it all out, but we recognize these things, and we ask God daily, sometimes moment by moment, for him to transform these ares of our lives so that we don’t pass these ways of being onto our children. So that we don’t walk in them ourselves, because we want to please our Father in heaven. We wanna walk the way the word calls us to walk.

Jennifer Smith: And I will share that in our own experience, in our own marriage, over time, the biggest thing that has helped us be free of walking this way, this evil way, is sharing how it hurts us, and calling it out. Calling it for what it is. Calling it manipulation, calling it the cold shoulder, or the slamming of the door and saying, “I don’t like that.” So, communicating exactly what the boundaries are, and how it hurts you, and like Aaron said, just repenting of it and saying, “I’m not gonna choose to do that anymore.”

Aaron Smith: Yeah. Thanks for being with us today. I hope these encouraged you, I hope this gives you a lot of conversation in your marriage, and don’t forget to subscribe, and also don’t forget to share this.

Jennifer Smith: Also, please leave us comments. We have been getting an overwhelming amount of comments on our podcast, and so we’re really excited about that. If you have a favorite game that you and your spouse like to play that you wanna share with everyone, or if you wanna talk about your experience with one of these three negative games that you should never play in your marriage, please leave us a comment. We love to hear from you.

Aaron Smith: We’ll see you next week.
Did you enjoy today’s show? Find many more encouraging stories, and resources, and at Marriage After God dot com, and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

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