Edward F. Lundwall Jr.
The Many Facets of Christian Married Love – Part IV
Continuing Life in Harmony
To have continuing harmony within the relationship, it is imperative to understand the differences between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16–26). The works or deeds of the flesh are: “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, … “(Gal. 5:19–21 NASU). Many of these expressions of the flesh, (i.e., human natural life expressing the self centered sinful nature) obviously need to be avoided as much as possible, if not entirely. These need to be treated as poisonous snakes in grass of our cultures. They are destructive to spiritual life and definitely to marriage.
The specific ones which work to destroy Christian marriages, compatibility and spiritual life are impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying. They exalt one’s self life at the expense of other person’s, and ultimately act to besmirch the character and thwart the purposes of God.
One of the essential agreements between husband and wife is to continually apply “…be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:20). In other words: be more oriented to listen than to speak. What the other person has to say often is a frustration or anxiety which can only be relieved if fully talked out. Further, if the listener is “slow to speak” that one can think through what is being said and may discover what the problems and needs are, as well as gain insight into possible solutions. The man and wife must remember “…the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20) To defeat the temptation for a fleshly reaction, use the nearly magic reply to an argumentative assault: “Okay, let me think about it!” to provide a cooling off period for all.
Anger is a reaction in defense of personal rights and/or taking back rights that were once yielded to God. When tempted to make an angry outburst, that one should stop and think: “What perceived personal right is making me this way? Is it a need or a preference? Am I being self willed in this, and can I afford the consequences?”
My father used to frequently remind me that before I speak, I govern my words, but after I speak they govern me! My Dad used to frequently remind me that: before I speak, I govern my words, but after I speak they governs me! Words can wound or bless, so before responding in anger a person needs to reaffirm that God will supply their essential needs, and so again yield the matter to God. Indeed, ingrained in every marriage should be the irrefutable practice of “…swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”
Related reading: Part I: Christian Marriage; Part II: Facets of Married Love; Part III: Christian Married Love