I’ve had conversations with young women in love, married and not, who have stated or implied that they argue with their spouse or boyfriend frequently. It’s not that they’re necessarily coming to me for advice, although I’ve had people ask how in the world my husband and I have managed to stay together for forty-seven years, and we both have hair left on our heads. Well, okay, I have more than he does, but it’s not that I pulled his out.
I think the longevity of our relationship is particularly amazing to some because I married young. Quite young. Let’s face it. It hasn’t all been peaches and cream, especially before we were both saved. We’ve had our share of struggles. Even after we were saved, there have been a few little humps and bumps in the road. But it certainly isn’t the washboard we traveled before.
Relationships adjust and mature (hopefully) as individuals change and grow. It takes effort to maintain a healthy union over time. Each person has their own “right” viewpoint, and everyone has a “right” to their point of view. However, it’s no one’s “right” to constrain the other person to your own perspective. God did, after all, make us different people.
What is it that causes a couple to struggle with conflict? I couldn’t possibly do justice to this subject in the space of a blog post, nor am I an expert. But I know the One who is the best Relationship Counselor ever. So I will point you to a few places that you may find answers for yourself. From what I have seen, the most prevalent problem that arises translates to “it’s all about me.” What’s at the core of that? Pride. So, what does God say about pride? Let’s see: (all Scripture NKJV)
• Proverbs 28:25 “He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the LORD will be prospered.”
• I Peter 5:5 in part says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
• Proverbs 21:19 “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman.”
• Proverbs 26:21 “As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.”
Selflessness is a picture of our Lord and Savior, whom we are to strive to emulate. In the three short years of His ministry, His every action was for the benefit of others. His ultimate loving act, His submission to die on the cross for the remission of our sin, provides us with the spiritual freedom we have today. God tells us in both Matthew 19 and Mark 10 that when a man and a woman marry, they become as one flesh. This does not refer only to the intimate physical part of the relationship, but indicates that the couple should live in harmony. How to do that?
• Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:26
• Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Romans 12:15-17
• Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; Romans 12:9-11
• “… with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,” Ephesians 4:2
• “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
• “…submitting to one another in the fear of God. Ephesians 5:21
Now having said all that, please be sure to read Ephesians chapter 5, and understand that the husband is the head of the family. This scripture also addesses how the husband is to treat the wife. In this “modern” time, women tend to want to rule the roost. Please don’t tell me I’m “old-fashioned.” 1 Peter tells us that “the Word of the Lord endures forever.”
And, oh yes, I am looking in the mirror as I write this.