How to Remove That Fishy Smell in Marriage

In my last Normal Marriage post, I talked about the fishy smell that occurs in marriage when you run away from something you know you need to do. In that post, we talked about how to avoid that fishy smell.

But what if you didn’t get the post in time and your marriage already smells fishy? How do you remove the smell?

As a boy, I spent a lot of time fishing. At the end of a long day of fishing, my hands would have that fishy smell. No matter how much I washed my hands, I couldn’t get rid of the smell. Then someone told me to scour my hands with both soap and salt. I don’t know if it was the grit of the salt or the compound of the salt, but it worked!

Like Jonah, if you’ve been running from something you need to do in marriage you already have that fishy smell. I’m not suggesting salt as the solution, but there are some things you can do to remove that fishy smell…

Admit when you’re wrong. This is hard to do, because it requires vulnerability and humility. It’s much easier to point out your spouse’s faults, but doing so only sinks you deeper in fish guts. Even if your spouse has been wrong, your refusal to admit your own wrong doing will cause them to be increasingly defensive. So start by admitting your faults.

Ask for forgiveness. It’s not enough to just admit when you’re wrong. You also need to ask for forgiveness. This requires even more humility than admitting you were wrong, because asking your spouse for forgiveness puts them in control and makes you all the more vulnerable. But a true, heartfelt request for forgiveness can be a breath of fresh air to a stinking marriage. It can not only dispel the fishy smell, it can warm your spouse’s heart and draw them to you.

Act differently. Admitting when you’re wrong and asking for forgiveness will mean nothing if you don’t act differently from that point forward. Nothing stinks up a marriage like a lot of good words but no good action to back up those words. Remember, your spouse will know how you really feel by the way you act.

Like salt, these three things help to remove the fishy smell in your marriage. But you need to know it takes all three to get the job done.

  • If you admit your wrong doing without asking for forgiveness and acting differently, you’re being obstinate.
  • If you ask for forgiveness without admitting your wrong d0ing or acting differently, you’re being irrelevant.
  • If you act differently without admitting your wrong doing and asking for forgiveness, you’re being avoidant.

So admit when you’re wrong, ask for forgiveness and act differently. Jonah had trouble doing these things, but if you quickly and humbly do these things, they will not only help remove the fishy smell from your marriage, they will keep you from losing that prize catch!

Which of the three steps above is the most difficult for you? Admitting when you’re wrong? Asking for forgiveness? Acting differently? Pick the one you most need to work on and look for opportunities to practice it this week.

Copyright © 2016 Bret Legg

4 thoughts on “How to Remove That Fishy Smell in Marriage”

  1. These last two posts have been spot on — reeled me in. Or rather, “realed” me in. Your posts do a fantastic job addressing real world issues. Keep it up. Your voice is desperately needed and extremely valued.

    And I love the new look!

    • “Reeled me in”…Love it! Grateful for your words and your reading. Please share with others. I just want to help and encourage as many as I can in this dance we call marriage. Grateful!


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