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Keeping the Peace

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God's plan for harmony in marriage is two spouses—each of them abundantly blessed with God's love—freely giving each other their love, affection and devotion.

Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Philippians 2:2

Carrie really wanted a dining-room table and chairs. For a year, Tom, her husband, had promised her she could have them. She grew angrier by the day as the table and chairs didn't come. To motivate Tom—and perhaps to get even—she frequently brought up in front of others how he was not taking very good care of them. Tom knew if he wanted peace in the house he'd have to give in, but when he did, the peace didn't last long.

Do you know at least one couple who func­tions like this? One spouse wants something—a bigger house or a better car—and treats the other spouse unkindly until he or she gets it. Even then, the harmony lasts only until the spouse wants something else. This is what we call "marriage bartering:'

The worst part of marriage bartering is that even if we get what we think we want, it won't satisfy. God seems to have "wired" relationships in such a way that we're never fulfilled if we have to "take" things from our spouse. For example, when we have to badger our spouse for his or her attention, it is very unfulfilling for us when finally they reluctantly and begrudgingly share it.

God's plan for marriage harmony is that two spouses, each of them abundantly blessed with God's love, freely give their love, affection, and devotion to one another—with nobody just taking!

Nothing gives us the kind of security that being loved and cared for gives—not material possessions and not the affection and attention that we "bartered" for. These things weren't intended to give us security. The need for real love is met within the framework of marriage harmony.

What step(s) can you take starting today to make sure your marriage is free of the disharmony "taking" is sure to bring?

Lord, help me to work with my spouse to create an atmosphere of harmony in our home.

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