Written By: Kim Anderson
Proverbs 15:1- A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (NIV)
What kind of fighter would you say that you are in your marriage? Are you the silent fighter type? You cross your arms, raise your brows and hold your ground? Are you a pride fighter? Do you say anything and everything to get in the last word? Maybe you’re a repressive fighter? You let your frustration build up until you explode. Or maybe you fight dirty. You bring up old stuff to deliver the knock-out punch.
Me? I’m a logical fighter. I’ve spent much of my married battles trying to help my husband understand why I’m absolutely right. When emotions flare, I have a hard time backing down because I’m convinced that five minutes of hashing out the scenario will clearly let him see that I know what I’m talking about.
Beyond being a logical fighter, I also have a nervous habit of cleaning when I’m frustrated. A few weeks ago, after some heated words were exchanged I went into full throttle cleaning mode. That night as I went to put my son’s clothes away in his room, the Holy Spirit whispered, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Shortly after this, my husband entered the room for round two. In that moment I had a choice. I could turn away wrath or I could stir up anger. Stirring up anger would have led to round 3, round 4, and possibly letting the sun go down on my anger.
But instead, I just kept my mouth shut. I didn’t say a word. I didn’t communicate anything but focused attention with my eyes and mouth. I chose what was better. I may have lost the fight that night but I won the battle.
You see every day we are fighting a battle. The Bible clearly defines who our enemy is. 1 Peter 5:8- Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
So the next time your ready to go toe to toe with your spouse, take a step back and remember who your real enemy is. It’s not that man standing before you. It’s a greater foe who longs for nothing more than to kill your marriage, steal your friendship and destroy your trust. Reframe the rising conflict and put it into perspective. You will have arguments and long winded, sometimes, heated discussions. The question is, what are you willing to do to turn away wrath in this situation? Will you let love shine by not being easily angered or keeping record of wrongs? Will you lose this fight so you can win the battle?