So far we have looked at love and joy in our marriage, and today we are going to look at having peace in our marriage. There are many circumstances that can rob us our peace; anger, financial issues, selfishness, illnesses, unfaithfulness, laziness, over working...and so on. All of these things are eventually going to lead to conflict, and that is basically what not having peace in our marriage boils down to...conflict.
Conflict in marriage is inevitable, but there is a way to overcome it and come out stronger in the end. First, I think it's important to point out that we are called not to let any unwholesome talk come from our mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up. (Ephesians 4:29) I know it's hard when we are in a really heated argument to hold our tongue. But if we are not careful, we end up hurting our spouse and the words can never be taken back. In Proverbs we are told that the tongue has the power of life and death. (Proverbs 18:21) This means that the words that we say to our spouse (or anyone for that matter) can either breathe life into them, or suffocate them. Your spouse makes a comment that offends you, you then lash out at them with another harsh comment, they come back at you, and so on and so on. Before you know it, the disagreement escalates into what Dr. Emmerson Eggerich calls, "The Crazy Cycle."
The book of Proverbs also has a lot to say about the negatives of being a quarrelsome wife. Chapter 19:13 tells us, "A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping." Chapter 21:9 says, "Better to live on a corner of the roof than to share a house with a quarrelsome wife." Verse 19 in the same chapter says, "Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife." Chapter 27:15 again teaches that, "A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day." As we can clearly see, God has a lot to say about the attitudes we have towards our husbands.
A few months ago, Jeff and I attended a quarterly couples event at church called Marriage Rocks, and I wanted to share some of the things my pastor said about conflict. He shared that statistics show, couples who say only 5 negative comments per 100, are ten times less likely to get a divorce. However, couples who say 10 out of 100, are ten times more likely to get a divorce. He also discussed how we should not go to bed angry. The Bible even tells us in Ephesians not to let the sun go down while you are still angry. (Eph. 4:26) He shared a story about a time when he and his wife were in a conflict, and when it was time to go to bed she told him, "Look, we really need to get some sleep. I'm not very happy with you right now, but I still love you, and I still want to be married to you for the rest of my life." He said that simple comment made all the difference and gave him so much reassurance that everything would be okay. He then ended by saying something like, "What if our goal was not to win the conflict, but instead, to try to see our spouses point of view." I think if we had this mind set it would make all the difference in our marriages.
If conflict is an area of struggle for you and your spouse, then take it to the Lord and ask that He fill your marriage with peace. I would also encourage you to seek Godly counsel. A lot of churches will provide free marriage counseling to couples who ask. Do not be ashamed to ask for help. We all go through hard times, and trying to find a resolve is much better than doing nothing at all. And remember, our marriages are worth fighting for.
We serve a Father who is the God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1:3), and He is able to provide a peace that surpasses understanding (Phil. 4:7). Remember to keep your eyes on Jesus, and I promise He will see you through.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you and ask that you would always fill our marriage with your perfect peace. Please help us to quickly resolve any conflict we may have, and look to you as our guide at all times. Help us to not allow any unwholesome talk to come from our mouths, but only words that build each other up. Thank you for being The Prince of Peace to us, and filling us with your Spirit. You are so precious to me, Jesus. Amen.
As I have been writing this post, I've been rockin' out to this song :) I absoulutely love it, and it reminds me of the early dating days for Jeff and I, as this was a very popular worship song then. I also thought it was appropriate, considering the topic.