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How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong
by Leslie Vernick, LCSW
© 2001.
(Waterbrook Press: Colorado Springs, CO) All rights reserved.

[Answer 11 of 15 questions correctly to receive
9 hours of Continuing Education Credit]


Chapter One: Why Bother to Act Right? (p. 7-31)
1. Which is TRUE?
a. Jesus taught us to pursue happiness.
b. Choosing to act right when you don’t feel like it is hypocrisy.
c. God never promises us that our spouse will change if we act right or do right.
d. It is not possible to continue having a spouse who doesn’t love us back.

Chapter Two: What Do My Spouse’s Wrong Reveal in Me? (p. 33-35)
2. The first step in learning to act right when our spouses act wrong is to
a. ask our spouse why they behave that way.
b. examine our interpretation of our spouse’s behavior.
c. communicate our disapproval.
d. ask God to change our spouse.

3. Research has shown that one of the greatest threats to a marriage occurs when spouses
a. don’t spend enough time with each other.
b. regularly interpret each other’s behavior negatively.
c. mismanage their finances.
d. get bored with each other.


In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked His disciples to pray with Him during
       the hardest trial of His life. They repeatedly fell asleep. He told the disciples about
       His disappointment. Then He forgave them. (Mark 14:32-41)

Chapter Three: Stop Reacting, Start Responding (p. 57-72)


 1. ESCALATING A FIGHT -- Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
 2. NEGATIVE COMMENTS -- Proverbs 12:18 “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
 3. INVALIDATING COMMENTS -- Ephesians 4:29 “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”

4. Which is more destructive to a marriage, a hot temper, or passive withdrawal?
a. A hot temper, because things said in anger are never forgotten.
b. Passive withdrawal, because the other spouse perceives this as cowardice.
c. Both are equally deadly; one just takes a little longer than the other to do marital damage.

5. When a spouse is acting wrong, the author advises couples to respond according to Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” What does it mean, in marriage, to overcome evil with good?
a. To reflect God’s justice and confront our spouse’s wrongdoing.
b. To demonstrate our worth and dignity in God’s eyes by standing up for our rights.
c. To “turn the other cheek” and back down, hopefully shaming our spouse into right behavior.
d. To respond to our spouse’s wrong-doing in ways that are godly, righteous, and loving.

Chapter Four: Guard Your Heart (p. 73-86)
6. The author had a female client who became angry with her, thinking the author was trying to convince her to stay married even though she wanted to divorce her husband. “I just don’t have feelings for him anymore,” she said. Why should I give up the rest of my life for a promise I made when I was too young and stupid to know what I was doing?” What happened to this client?
a. She realized that the true source of her loss of feelings for her husband was NOT her husband but the thousands of times she mentally rehearsed what she did not like about him. She then set about, with God’s help, to change her thinking to the positives about her husband.
b. She realized that God was using her husband’s faults to expose and change her own shortcomings.
c. She acknowledged that at the time she got married she did not fully realize what she was getting into, but then again, she realized no one fully realizes what lies ahead in marriage. So she turned to God and thanked Him for the perseverance she had learned, and asked Him for wisdom to save her marriage.
d. She ended counseling with the author and found another counselor who told her what she wanted to hear.


              Hardness of heart, bitterness, resentment, vengeance, hopelessness,
              discouragement, empathy, fear, worry, pretense (pretending that things
              are fine when they are not), boredom, and feelings discontent.

Chapter Five: Center Yourself in God (p. 87-103)
7. Referring to Job 8:13-15, the author says that putting either ourselves or others instead of God at the center of our lives is
a. as reliable as leaning against a spider web.
b. an act of idolatry.
c. psychologically harmful.
d. a recipe for eventual disappointment.

8. If God is at the center of your life, what difference does this make for your marriage?
a. You will make less demands on your spouse because you are spiritually full, not empty.
b. You will have fewer difficulties because God promises to reduce your suffering.
c. God will bless you with material things.
d. Your spouse will make God the center of his or her life.

Chapter Six: Recognize Your Power to Choose (p. 105-122)
9. Marriage expert John Gottman’s research claims that wives who ___ are likely to be separated within four years.
a. violate their monthly budget by overspending money.
b. make sour facial expressions when they listen to their husbands.
c. commit adultery.
d. constantly disagree about how to respond to their children.

10. To make good choices, we must
a. distinguish between desires and emotions.
b. recognize competing desires, even good desires.
c. love God more than anything and anyone else.
d. all of the above.

Chapter Seven: Choose to Grow (p. 123-140)
11. This chapter teaches the concept of training ourselves to respond rightly when our spouse displeases us. It teaches that hardship builds perseverance. It teaches that in order to persevere through the hardships of marriage, we must keep our eyes on God’s goal of being committed to
a. putting up with a difficult mate.
b. staying married no matter what.
c. loving our spouse.
d. not filing for divorce.

          Are we training our minds to focus on what is good and right about our
          marriage, or do we tend to zero in on all the things we don’t like or can’t
          stand about our spouse? (p. 135)

Chapter Eight: Choose to Love (p. 141-158)
12. Genuine love is defined as loving actions motivated by the express purpose of doing whatever is in the best interests of our spouse. Throughout their ten-year marriage, Todd rarely showed much interest in things that mattered to Hillary. He often worked late, played hard with the guys, and spent money whenever he wanted, despite Hillary’s pleas to purchase a home, spend time as a family, or allow her to complete college. When she announced she was filing for divorce, Todd broke down and sobbed, “Why are you doing this to me? I love you so much.” The author describes Todd’s response as
a. powerful emotions of real love.
b. a demonstration of genuine remorse.
c. feelings of dependency and a fear of losing her.
d. indication of a change of heart for the better.

13. Toward the end of this chapter, the author makes suggestions as to how Hillary could have shown genuine love toward Todd in their marriage. One of these suggestions was for Hillary to
a. set boundaries that minimized the impact of Todd’s behavior on the family.
b. go ahead and pursue divorce.
c. interpret Todd’s tears as genuine remorse.
d. just accept Todd for who he is and focus on changing Hillary.

Chapter Nine: Gifts of Love (p. 159-181)

14. When we have difficulty accepting our spouse’s imperfections and weaknesses, it is usually because
a. our spouse has hurt us too much.
b. we have trouble accepting our own limitations and weaknesses also.
c. we had unloving parents.
d. we believe our marriage is hopeless and will never improve.

15. We know we have truly forgiven someone when we
a. no longer hurt from their offense.
b. no longer remember their offense.
c. are reconciled to the offender.
d. choose not to cling to our right for justice or vengeance.