Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fighting with your spouse can make you live longer: study

I chuckled at this article headline at first, but gave it a second thought. Couples do need to fight, but fight fair and scripturally. One passage came to mind, the Hebrew writer admonishes: “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.” (Heb. 13:4-5).
Trusting the Lord at the center of a marriage and your spouse confidently by our side, is so important. Kerry and I covenanted together to make God #1 before us, and make each other #2, even before our child. Our love came 1st, for each other 2nd, and our child is the fruit of that love, we are to be good stewards of our gift--and what a gift this kid is (though she is 3rd)! Her seeing our love for God and each other teaches her more than if she was made 1st in our lives. The other passage that comes to mind is from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” (4:26, 27). He later talks about living in peace and not brawling, but I think spouses need to talk, and sometimes passionately. But when it gets heated, we ought to apologize--“I’m sorry”—ouch! Kerry and I were barely sure we would make it in our first year of marriage; we had so much to work through. Each year it has gotten better and better to the point I can’t imagine it any better. But one thing I can say is we have fought fair, and when we didn’t we apologized. When I meet couples who have been married 50+ years, I always ask if they have any advice. Try it sometime; you will be surprised to what you hear.

The marriage I have respected most responded with, “We have kept God first, and whenever we have problems, we always talk about it. When we are wrong, we have never been afraid to apologize”. Then the nice little-old-man went on and on speaking to me prophetically. I wish I took notes when I was 19!

God #1, fighting fair, apologizing--maybe this study is less funny after all.

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