One of the biggest reasons listed for divorces 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. 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.
If couples would just stop and realize that most arguments start over petty issues there would be more peace and less mess in their relationships.
Five of the biggest reasons for conflict in marriage are:
Poor communication — How you communicate to your spouse determines if your 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.
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.”
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).
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.
Unexpected differences — 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? You must begin to focus on the good and not the bad. 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.
Stop overreacting. 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 walking out on your mate. 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. There are no irreconcilable differences in Christ.
Stephen Harrison is associate pastor of Family Church at White Hall.
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