Be encouraged to mutually reverse conflict in your marriage.
The Christian couple is able to counter the causes of conflict, allowing marriage as God designed it by mutually obeying God’s Word. First, recognise that marriage is to reflect the relationship between Christ and His Church (Eph 5:23-24). Likewise, realise that sin does NOT have to be the prevailing wind in your marriage. In Christ, we are free to live God’s way (Rom 8:1-2). Following are 5 principles that will allow two soft hearts to unitedly experience marriage as God intended.
Mutually submit to each other within your unique roles.
The apostle Paul details in Ephesians 5:21-30 that mutual submission is the foundation of marriage, practiced as an expression of respect for Christ as Lord. While all men are the wife’s equals, only her husband is spiritually head of the family. The husband’s headship is to be characterized through leading by humble, self-sacrificing servitude as he establishes the spiritual headship and authority of Christ in the family.
Mutually pursue reconciliation.
When sin or offense is present, and the guilty person turns from their wrong, “you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him” (2Co 2:7-8). To reconcile is to love, to love is to forgive, to forgive is to confirm the authenticity of love.
Mutually yield to love.
Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 7:2-5 that we are to recognise the reality of sexual temptation. Be proactive against temptation by satisfying each other. Especially as husband and wife, “Let all that you do be done in love” (1Co 16:14). Endeavour to make life together an act of love in word, in body language, through intention, in your planning of events, and in speech.
Mutually pursue truth.
Truth is the foundation for trust. It builds trust, because trust is an expression of genuine love – to deny trust is to deny love. “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Eph 4:15). Truthfulness is not to be used as a weapon, or as an excuse to inflict pain, or to gain control. It’s not to be manipulative or self-seeking. Rather, “Love rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things” (1Co 13:6-7).
Mutually commit not to fight.
Passionate discussion can be healthy; however, anger turns it into a fight. Anger, grumbling and moaning, are inconsistent with the character of a Christian, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing” (Php 2:14). Yet we so often excuse these painful qualities as mere personality traits. Quite likely, it’s selfishness. Conceit fighting to demand the submission of your partner to your way of thinking. Selfishness is the enemy of unity, and the causer of fights.
Mutually don’t flirt with the enemy.
“Abstain from every form (appearance) of evil” (1Th 5:22). It’s too easy for our conduct around others to suggest vulnerability; a suggestive smile, an inappropriate wink, immodest clothing, off-coloured jokes, or overly familiarised touching. Both husbands and wives are equally vulnerable to the inappropriate allurement of others. Protect and enhance the sanctity of your marriage by not emotionally or physically stepping outside of God’s boundaries. Remember, don’t punish your spouse when they share with you of their temptations – thank them for their honesty, integrity, and love.
Today, live as free people in Christ. Live for His glory, for the testimony of the church, for the expression of the power of the gospel, as witnesses to the authority of God’s Word, and for the blessing of your families.
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.bbf.net.nz