Selections from Proverbs 15:
A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable,
But the mouth of fools spouts folly. (1-2)
A soothing tongue is a tree of life,
But perversion in it crushes the spirit. (4)
The lips of the wise spread knowledge,
But the hearts of fools are not so. (7)
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
But the slow to anger calms a dispute. (18)
The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things. (28)
A couple does not have to be married for very long before they realize that conflict is inevitable. No matter how romantic the courtship, wedding, and honeymoon may have been, there comes a time when a wife and husband find themselves disagreeing with each other and/or behaving in ways that fall short of each other’s expectations.
Now although conflict cannot be avoided, “fighting” — as in raised voices, demeaning words, threatening actions, hostile feelings, and such — certainly can be avoided. These excerpts from Proverbs 15 show us that the Scriptures are rich in practical applications for how to speak with righteousness and wisdom, rather than foolishness and wickedness.
As you might imagine, a whole day’s worth of writing on the subject of conflict-resolution in marriage would not cover all there is to say, but our challenge to you is this: Take time to re-read those verses (out loud, together) and compare them against your typical, characteristic behaviors. Do you — or does your spouse — find that you are more at the slow-to-anger end of the spectrum, or the hot-tempered end? Let’s be wise enough to recognize where there is room for improvement; not foolish enough to “justify” our communication short-comings.