“What should I do when my spouse and I fight?” comes up because in marriage we get into arguments and fights all the time. Whose fault is it that dinner wasn’t prepared? What’s the best way to get to Taco Bell? What set of inoculations do you need before eating at Taco Bell? What’s the fastest route from Taco Bell to the hospital?
I’m not talking about disagreeing of course; that’s going to happen. I’m talking about arguing. And of course, you think you’re right.
We believe: Being right about an argument justifies the argument.
However, even if you’re right about the argument, you are no longer right because you are in the argument. Because “right” is what pleases God.
The Source of the Argument and Fighting With Your Spouse
And what is the source of the argument? The source is needing to be right. The source is pride.
Pride puts being right in front of love, in front of patience. Pride puts being right over the relationship with the other person and your relationship with God.
The argument’s source is a breakdown of the couple’s relationship with God, not their spouse. The argument is a symptom of the breakdown between the couple and God.
Dealing with Source of the Argument
So the plan of attack is first to deal with your relationship with God and then your spouse.
And that plan is hard. Someone has to take the initiative, kill their pride and be strong in humility and say in the middle of the argument, “I am wrong for arguing”, but not first to the other person – to God. Someone must stop and say some of the toughest words, “Let’s stop and pray.”
The next thing out of your heart should be humility and out of your mouth should be, “God, forgive ME for arguing. For MY lack of love, patience and self-control.”
In the back of your mind, you will be thinking, “OK, my spouse better respond in kind or else I’m the weak one, and I lose.”
But what does the Bible say about humility?
James 4:6 God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
Matt 23:12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Eph 4:2 With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love
So you simply can’t think about your spouse’s heart first. You have to be the ‘weak’ one in order to be the strong one.
2 Cor 12:10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
After your prayer, maybe your spouse will be convicted of their sin as well. Maybe not. Maybe you ‘lose’ the argument, but ‘win’ before God. But maybe your spouse is convicted, then prays. And now your marriage is stronger because of humility. And all it took was obedience to God.
That’s Great, But There’s Something Better
Now that’s all well and good to stop the argument, but you know what is better? Not to have an argument in the first place.
And how can you prevent arguments? By having the heart of Christ.
Like we already said, first have humility along with the rest of the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-23).
It’s about growth: A year from now, if you are more loving, patient, and humble, and they are more loving, patient, and humble, you’ll reduce your arguments from five to one over the same period, thus decreasing your sin and increasing your ability to glorify God.
You can have that strong marriage. You can be the example to others and to your kids of what humility and love look like in a relationship.
So growth in your marriage is actually about, “How can we grow the heart of Christ in ourselves and each other?”
Discuss as a couple where do your hearts fail? Which situations cause you to lack the fruit of the Spirit and humility? Then reduce or remove those situations.
A lot of what bothers your heart will just come out in normal conversation, “My boss is stupid. The kids are annoying. I hate traffic. I hate when you hang up the towels like that.”
Admitting these failures isn’t a failure. News Flash: We’re sinful (Rom 7:14-25). You’ve already failed, that’s why it bothers you. But now you can address them.
And yes, some of what bothers us is silly. Yes, it’s stupid that your spouse gets upset that the dishes aren’t done a certain way or if you take a different way to the store, but that’s where they are at with their spiritual maturity and fruit of the spirit. So out of love for God and them, just do it their weird way (Romans 15:1-7). And as they grow, maybe next year it won’t be an issue for them.
So What Do We Do Now?
Grow in True Faith
1. Grow in KNOWING GOD’S WORD:
Read and memorize the passages about humility. Read the passages of Christ’s humility. Read the “Love Chapter” (1 Cor 13:4-7).
2. Grow with HAVING THE HEART OF CHRIST:
Discuss your hardships, then figure out which of the Fruit of the Spirit or humility you’re missing in each situation. Pray for one another’s hearts in those situations on a daily basis.
3. Grow in OBEYING IN WISDOM:
Figure out HOW to reduce or remove stumbling blocks from each others paths. Seek wisdom and advice with what works for other couples.
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
15 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up… .5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.