About Chuck and Eileen Rife

Chuck Rife is a licensed professional counselor and marriage/family therapist who's worked with Total Life Counseling, Inc. of Roanoke, Virginia since 1988. Eileen Rife, a veteran homeschool mom of twenty years, works as a freelance writer, author, and speaker. Together, they conduct marriage seminars designed to grow godly marriages that last a lifetime! Chuck and Eileen are also certified to administer and evaluate the Prepare-Enrich assessment tool for couples.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Right to Remain Silent

The other evening I (Eileen) was driving to pick up Chuck after work. I knew I was going to be late and was mentally rehearsing all my good excuses to have ready when I opened his office door. Approaching the parking lot, I pulled in, screeched to a halt, then fumbled to open the car door. Clutching my purse, I hurriedly zipped from the car to Chuck's office. Clearly my feet were not on the ground yet, let alone my head. I was still in a frenzy of thought when I pulled open the heavy office door. Guess who had been waiting  for an hour? I was ready! My guns were loaded and both barrels were aimed at my unsuspecting victim.

Picking up his briefcase, Chuck asked, "Where have you been?  I thought you were lying out on the highway somewhere."

My guns accidentally went off.  I did not want them to, but they did anyway, as if having a mind of their own. I immediately blurted out.  "Lying out on the highway!  Such leisure is not possible on this tight, frantic schedule.  How can you possibly think I would take time to LIE out on the highway?  I've done nothing but rush to get here."

Somehow I think I missed his point. In my desperate attempt to defend myself from assault, I charged in like the light brigade, not able to detect the concern in Chuck's voice.

After firing off a few more choice rounds on the way home, we both retreated to our sides of the car and played wounded soldiers for the rest of the evening.

As is often the case, I awoke the next morning with the startling realization that my dear, sweet husband really was a dear, sweet husband the evening before. He actually was concerned for my well being, but I was so intent on defending myself, I could not read the anxiety behind his words.

While in the shower, I was stunned into silence (pretty remarkable for me) by my lack of sensitivity--a quality I have lobbied Chuck for time and time again. The two by four in my own eye was feeling pretty heavy right about now. Later, God took me to my knees and stunned me into silence again by my own great need to drop the defenses and be quiet before Him. Be still, Eileen, cease striving, let go, relax, and KNOW that I AM GOD." (Psalm 46:10)  Let loose of the defenses; let go of the pride; release the unbending spirit and lay them all at the foot of My Cross. You have no need to wear these chains.  I wore them for you when I gave My life in your place. Drop them and be silenced by My love for you, My compassion for you, My forgiveness for all your sin, now and forever.

Boy, God really knows how to get a girl's attention. Closing my Bible, I crept sheepishly up the stairs and into the hall where Chuck was selecting a tie to match his shirt.  "Does this tie match?" he cautiously ventured. "Yeah, it's fine," I peeped, still looking sheepish.  Somehow the words I longed to say took flight, except this time out of my brain, instead of out of my mouth as they had done the evening before.

I slowly walked into the kitchen to fix breakfast, all the while God nudging me to go back to Chuck. Crawling out of my trench, I approached Chuck who by this time was in the bathroom shaving. As I entered the doorway, he turned to look at me. From the look in his eyes, I knew he saw my white flag.  I dropped my guns, which by now looked like tiny plastic water pistols. He listened as I delivered my verbal peace treaty. The surrender was complete. Both sides were reconciled and the world looked peacefully rosy again. I had surrendered my right to defend myself and took on the RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT. 

As this account reveals, it is often difficult to admit when we are wrong or simply bite our tongues and pray for godly wisdom. The Scriptures abound with the importance of practicing confession before God and before one another. How very vital confession is in a marriage relationship! Confession indicates to the other person that we are willing to humble ourselves and admit our faults (swallowing our enormous pride and choking on it if necessary).

I John 1:9 speaks of confessing our sins before God in order to restore our fellowship with Him. God's promise is that He is indeed "faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Nothing can ever destroy our relationship with God once we have confessed the Lord Jesus as Savior, but sin can certainly hinder our fellowship with the Father. Thus, it behooves us to clear the problem up as soon as we are aware of the offense.

The marriage relationship is a picture of the Christian's relationship with God. Offenses toward one another in a marriage will not break the marriage bond, but they will certainly disrupt the blessed fellowship and friendship that we enjoy as partners and companions in this walk of life.

Furthermore, James 5:16a says, "Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed." Healing in a relationship can take place when at least one partner steps forward to confess a wrong done. This move on the mate's part can open the door for forgiveness and restoration. Hopefully, the confessing partner will be met with open arms and a spirit of reconciliation.

Our prayer for you today, dear reader, is that as you go about your daily affairs, you will be conscious of moments when you need to humble yourself before your spouse, simply remain silent, or confess a wrong done and seek forgiveness. In doing so, you will unlock the door to peace and contentment. 


  1. Thank you for your honesty, Eileen. Even some of us who've been married a while need to remember how easily our actions can hurt the one we love most.

  2. So true, Betty. Managing problems the day they arise (to the best of our ability) is so vital in a marriage.


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