I missed everyone last week. We were out of town early in the week for the funeral of a friend and later in the week to celebrate our 23 wedding anniversary. But I am back, refreshed, and ready to post again this week.
Paul writes about temptation: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1Co 10:13). With all due respect to Paul and the Spirit that inspired him, I want to borrow the first few words and reword them. I think my rewording and application holds true.
“No marital conflict has overtaken you that is not common to marriage . . .” (italics BSMc)
There are common areas of conflict in marriage. If we know these areas we can know what to look for and have time to make adjustments before the conflicts get out of hand. In my experience there are five of these common areas:
- Finances: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” So records Paul in 1Ti 6:10. In marriages when our spending is greater than our income then maintaining that financial situation will be our undoing. (outflow > inflow -> upkeep = downfall).
- Family: “‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? (Mat 19:5). Sometimes, especially early in marriage, we have a difficult time letting go of our parents (and parents have a difficult time letting go of their “baby”). Yet, we need to establish our own family. Do your best to limit the interference of your family negatively impact your marriage. Remember also to apply the Golden Rule of In-Laws, – “If you want good in-laws, be one.”
- Social Relationships: I am not sure when someone first suggested that husbands “need” their guy-friends and wives need their “girl’s night out,” but they were not entirely correct. Couples need have common friends (as much as possible). I think it was the Spirit that inspired Paul to write, “For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” (1Co 7:4). Spend time together. Live the words of the Alabama song, “She and I.”
- Children: I will get responses for the following: Children are NOT the focus of a marriage. They may be the result of marriage, but as husbands and wives, we must pay attention and dote on each other and not neglect each other for the children. Add to that the simple idea that as parents we need to be on the same page when it comes to child rearing and to not undermine each other’s efforts at discipline. We need to work together to “train up our children in the way that they should go.” (cf. Pro 22:16).
- Religion: Be of the same mind, of one spirit, when it comes to worshiping God. Just recently a high-profile Hollywood marriage split over religious differences (I am sure other issues played into it, but religion was the focus of the media). When you are not on the same journey you cannot arrive at the same place or travel the same roads to get there. Take time as a couple to study the Bible and to be joined together in Christ. Both husbands and wives need to look at 1Pe 3:1-2 and work toward being united religiously.
I know there are other areas, but these stand out as very common. Start working on these areas and strengthen your marriage. Marriage Matters!