It’s too easy to fight against your spouse, especially when they know exactly which buttons to push. Satan uses those triggers and fears to pit us against each other not for each other.

When we dig into and analyze the cycle, often it grows out of our own triggers or insecurities. Focus on the Family’s Dr. Greg Smalley says his trigger is feeling like a failure. As a result conflicts in his life and marriage intensify when he feels like a failure.

“That’s where Satan hooks me…when I feel like I’ve made a mistake, like I failed and that’s been there for many years. I’m less sensitive to that now, and I handle that a little bit better. But I get still get hooked by that one in weird ways.”

Each of us have our own version of insecurities and triggers we fall victim to. What triggers a husband to fight will be different than what triggers a wife.

What are some triggers men have?

•  Feeling disrespected

•  Feeling controlled

•  Feeling helpless or powerless

What are some triggers for women?

•  Feeling worthless

•  Feeling devalued or unloved

•  Feeling unimportant

•  Feeling rejected or abandoned

These triggers and sensitive areas in our life are from the deeper emotions that come from growing up in a fallen world. Greg shares that we can look into our past to see where these buttons originate.


“They came from lies that have been written on our heart. For me, somewhere along the line, Satan just was able to write ‘You are a failure. You’ll never measure up.’”

As someone with a father who is well-known in Christian ministry, Greg admits this can happen when someone compares him to his father (Gary Smalley). This happens from time to time at Greg’s own ministry events.

“If someone will come up and say ‘Hey, you know, tell your dad hi. I love him; he’s done such great ministry!’ And there’s times I’m just standing there going, ‘I’m in ministry too…’ That’s my stuff; that is not about them. But Satan has used that kind of as this ‘You’ll never measure up; you’ll never be as good as he was’ ploy. Simple stuff like that has hooked me over the years and that plays out in my marriage.”

Greg suggests sitting down and doing some self-reflection on what triggers you to anger or fear.  When armed with that information, we’re better equipped to handle disagreements with our spouse.

He unpacks more in his book,  .

Key Scriptures: Ephesians 1:5; 1 Corinthians 7:28; Matthew 19:6

Featured Songs: We Will Not Be Shaken by Bethel Music; You Alone by North Point; Love is Not a Fight by Warren Barfield

Highlight : Identify your triggers

Fight for your marriage

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