Scripture Passage: James 1:19
God made husbands and wives different so that He can make them one in marriage. Because of these innate differences, arguments are inevitable.
James 1:19 reveals how to handle conflicts: “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath…”
Only by listening can we begin to understand each other, and be brought back into a place of emotional intimacy.
When in conflict, remember four things as you listen to your spouse:
Be perceptive; listen with your eyes as well as with your ears, reading body language. Rather than looking away, lean in to show you are listening.
All too often, we are thinking about other things rather than our spouse’s words. As loving mates, we should instead give them our full attention.
Think about what the other person is saying. Don’t assume you already know what is going to be said, or try to catch your spouse in an error; instead, listen to what is said and also to what is meant.
After the other person has spoken completely, restate what was said, to make sure you understand what was meant.
Our tongues will often get us into trouble. Having two ears and one mouth, we should listen twice as much as we speak.
When in conflict, some spouses like to play judge or professor. Some play psychologist or historian, dictator or critic. Some might even play the self-righteous preacher. But as believers, we must remember that love is what controls our language.
Adrian Rogers says, “Watch your words; keep them warm and sweet because you may have to eat them.”
Unwarranted anger severely damages the home; it is not a weakness, it is a wickedness.
When facing marital conflicts, don’t run away, give in, or get fired up. Instead, find the right time, with the right tone, at the right place. Rather than being right and losing, compromise and gain together.
Married life may never get easier, but if we learn to deal with each other lovingly, it will get sweeter.
Are you facing conflicts in your marriage today? Take the words of James 1:19 to heart: tune in, tone down, and lighten up. Practice acceptance, accommodation, and adjustments together.