Is it common to debate with your mate? Sure it is. Sometimes, spouses get into it. And sometimes, spouses stay in it.
The most important thing is not whether or not you have confrontations. It is how you handle them.
James 1:19 is a verse that changes duels into duets. It says, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.” Or, in simpler terms: “Tune in, tone down, sweeten up.”
Tune in: All communication begins with listening. Love your spouse with your ears.
Tone down: Learn the vicious power of the tongue. Words can give life, or they can rip everything to shreds. They can build a home, or they can burn it to the ground.
There are seven deadly games we often play with the tongue.
- The Judge. We blame and condemn our partners.
- The Professor. We act superior to our partners.
- The Psychologist. We try to analyze our partners.
- The Historian. We nitpick and overtly correct our partners.
- The Dictator. We give unfair ultimatums to our partners.
- The Critic. We criticize our partners.
- The Preacher. We try to be the Holy Spirit to our partners.
It’s harmful to play these word games with our spouses.
Sweeten up: Resolve your hurts, do not dissolve your home.
Don’t practice avoidance. Confront the situation at hand. We tend to back off and retreat when things get heated, thinking that the problem will go away on its own. It doesn’t.
Don’t practice appeasement. To compromise is one thing; that’s where both give. But to appease is something else. One person dominates the issue and the other is left to internalize their feelings. This will result in a much bigger issue later.
Don’t practice aggression. No sarcasm, no bullying. The Bible says “speak the truth in love.”
Choose the right time to discuss, with the right tone, on the right turf. Learn to practice accommodation. Practice acceptance. Make an adjustment. It’ll be worth it.
Apply it to your life
Would you describe your marriage as a duel or a duet? Take these principles outlined in this message and prayerfully apply them to your life. As Adrian Rogers instructed: learn to practice accommodation. Practice acceptance. Make an adjustment. It’ll be worth it.