Friday, July 26, 2013

Reconcilable Differences

One of the biggest reasons listed for divorces today is “irreconcilable differences”.  Generally speaking, this phrase means nothing can bring us together and marriage is pointless.  But with Jesus’ help, all differences can be reconciled.  Having a good relationship with your spouse is not an accident – it takes work.  Scripture gives us several principles that will lead us into strong relationships with our spouses.  For example, Proverbs 15:18 says, “A hot tempered man stirs up dissension but a patient man calms a quarrel.”  Simply keeping your cool goes a long way in building a great relationship.  Another Proverb is, “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.”  Some couples fight over almost anything.  If they would just stop and realize that most arguments start over petty issues there would be more peace and less mess in their relationship.  I am a firm believer that when you apply God’s Word to your marriage any difference can be reconciled.

Five of the biggest reasons for conflict in marriage are poor communication, selfishness, pride, unmet needs, and unexpected differences.  How you communicate to your spouse determines if you marriage is whole or hell.  Psalm 141:3 says, “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord, and keep watch over the door of my lips.”  What you say or don’t say and how you say it will either enrich or entrench your marriage.  The second biggest reason for conflict in marriage is selfishness.  Having to be right 100% of the time, only seeking your best interest, and ignoring your spouse’s feelings is not only disrespectful but deplorable. Selfishness can even mean never listening to and always interrupting your spouse.  Proverbs 18:13 says, “He who answers before listening brings folly and shame to their life.”

A third reason for conflict is pride.  Never admitting your mistakes, refusing counsel, and blaming your spouse are examples of pride.  Scripture says you need to take the plank out of your own eye before you talk about the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye (Matthew 7:3-4).  Another reason for conflict is unmet needs.  James 4:1-2 says fights and quarrels come from the evil desires that battle within you as you don’t get what you want.  Your deepest needs can only be met by the Lord.  Asking your spouse to fill those is unfair as they cannot meet your unrealistic expectations.  Maybe you didn’t expect the differences you have discovered between you and your spouse.  Remember, Jesus is our peace and can make the two become one and destroy the barrier and hostility between you two (Ephesians 2:14). 

So how do you reconcile with your spouse?  First you must begin to focus on the good and not the bad.  Remember why you decided to get married.  Think about the good times of your marriage.  Philippians 4:8 tells you to think about things that are true, noble, pure, lovely, and admirable.  If you can’t remember any good times then it’s time to create some.  Another step is stop overreacting.  Right actions are way different than wrong reactions.  You must be proactive and overcome evil with good instead of letting evil overcome you (Romans 12:21).   You also can’t reconcile if you are always running away or putting more distance between your spouse.  You must learn to talk it out instead of waking out on your mate.  Don’t let the sun go down on your anger (Ephesians 4:26-27).  That means do something to make it right between your spouse today.  Be quick to forgive.  Don’t hold grudges.  Be teachable and willing to do whatever it takes to engage and win your spouse back.  You can be reconciled because Jesus died to defeat sin and death.   He desires to resurrect your marriage and heal your relationship with your spouse.  While He is able, it is your choice and takes two.  I pray you are willing.  There are no irreconcilable differences in Christ. 

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