There is a war that goes on in marriage, but I believe way too many people misunderstand what the real war in marriage is all about.
I remember how offended I felt when someone I knew posted a statement on Facebook that said, “marriage is the only war where you sleep with the enemy.” For them it was meant to be a joke and so my response to them was a little too harsh because I wanted them to take their marriage more serious.
I still believe their joke was about half way serious. Because I worked with the husband at one time and he would often come to me for some advice or encouragement about his marriage. One morning he came to work feeling down because they had had a big argument the night before after he bought the wrong kind of peanut butter at the store. It was just one of many senseless fights they had and so I knew this couple had some very real struggles.
But they’re not the only ones who have ever had a huge argument over something so trivial. I know we have and I suspect most marriages have done the same thing at some point. Arguments, fights, hurt feelings over small misunderstandings or even very large issues all seem to be very common place in marriage. And so I know why a lot of people would think of their marriage as a war.
The Real War in Marriage
The truth is there is a war that takes place in marriage. And it does show up over small trivial matters and over large significant issues. But is this a war between male and female? Is it a war over different personality types? Does this war have anything to do with different backgrounds, different love languages, different gifting, or different roles? Well yes and no.
The fact that husbands and wives are so different in so many ways does seem like these differences play a part in why we have war in our marriages. But our differences are what complements our relationship and these differences are often the things that make us so attracted to our spouse. Also it is often when two people are a lot alike that they have the greatest difficulty getting along. So whether we are different or we are alike we still end up having this war in our marriage.
The real war in marriage is not a war between husband and wife. The real war is between self-will and God’s will, a war between our individual kingdoms and Gods kingdom. Our marriage is one of the greatest test we have to see if we are willing to lay our lives down for the good of another person, which is a standard principal in the kingdom of God.
Every time we battle in our marriage it is a clash between our own kingdom versus our spouse’s kingdom. And in doing so we become more concern with establishing our own individual kingdoms and our right to rule than we are to yielding ourselves to God’s kingdom and His rule.
This bible passage speaks volumes on this issue.
[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”625px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]James 4:1-3 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2) You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3) And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.[/dropshadowbox]
So does this mean we should passively lay down, giving up all rights to be loved, respected, and treated like a human being? No. I hope no one would take this the wrong way by allowing themselves to be abused and mistreated. And I hope no one would think that their own personal needs and desires are not important.
But it does mean we are to surrender to God all of our selfish, manipulating, power struggling, and me me me ways of thinking. We are to surrender to God any judgmental and critical thinking we have towards our spouse and allow God to show us what He sees and what we are missing.
And when we are in a place where we need to speak up for ourselves or stand our ground on important issues we do so from a submissive position before the Lord. Which means we keep ourselves accountable before the Lord on how we behave by not acting out of selfish motives and we let God deal with our spouse on how they behave.
It means when the Lord allows us to and gives us the right words and the right approach we can confront our spouse about important matters that need to be dealt with. But we resist the temptations to attack and force our will on our spouse. And we resist the temptations to counter our spouse’s bad behavior with our own spiteful bad behavior.
For more that goes along with this, check out our post: What Does a Good Marriage Look Like? And coming soon we will be adding more post to this truth of The Real War in Marriage.
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Question: In what ways have you allowed the kingdom of self to rule in place of God’s kingdom? Feel free to comment.
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