I want my marriage to thrive and excel. A marriage that survives is never the goal, a marriage that thrives is. Yet sadly, most marriage books have it wrong.
The two biggest issues that gnaw away at this sacred union are not sex and money problems. These two major issues are simply fruits of the deep-rooted quandary. Why address those points if they can be avoided all together? If the husband and wife collectively focus on maintaining peace in the home, their marriage will not only be preserved but will thrive.
My mentor who will be helping us along is William Gouge-an Englishman who lived from 1575-1653. Gouge is counted a knowledgeable man on many theological points, but he is an expert on marriage and the family. He provides us three points on how to maintain peace within the realm of marriage.
Misery loves company–let’s not give misery the chance to make it’s way into the marriage bed. Why be miserable if joy and happiness is the other option? “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity” (Ps 133:1). How much greater is it when a husband and wife dwell together in unity? No man wants a nagging wife and no wife wants to be a contentious woman. The pathway to this charitable marriage begins with peace. And with that, let’s begin…
Offenses Cause Contentions
1. Avoid Offense: Focusing our efforts on not being the cause of strife in the home will necessarily bring about peace in the home. When we are aware to avoid offense, we will be more cognizant of when we do take part in causing issue and will be quick to reconcile.
Let Love Cover a Multitude of Sins
2. Take not Offense: Beautifully tying in to the first point, by not being so sensitive to take offense at our spouse’s actions, we will avoid controversy. Ladies, let’s be honest: How many times are we manipulative to our spouse? We want some extra special attention or we want our husbands to do something so we exacerbate things and take offense too easily. As R.C. Sproul Jr. puts it plain and simple, “Let us not be afraid to call sin sin, but let us not be slow to forgive it and to look past it.”
Reconcile Quickly, Reconcile Often
3. Offer Reconciliation: One characteristic of my husband that I mostly love and sometimes get agitated about is his desire to be reconciled. I love being able to go to bed knowing that my husband and I are good to go. How quickly would we jump on a spark that hits the ground at a gas station? So we too in our marriages be quick to reconcile before that spark turns into a flame.
By looking to the needs of others (aka: our spouses) and by being intentional with our interactions with them, we can avoid so many problems. Our children will learn to interact with people by watching us interact with our husband or wife. We are the first line of defense for our children. Let us give them a good example of not only how to interact with others, but how to love their spouse and maintain peace within their homes.
For Further Discussion:
A biography on William Gouge