Christ created the institution of marriage to provide for us in many different ways. We have this "companion for life" that helps us grow into the person Christ wants us to become. The end goal: For us to shine brightly as an encouragement to each other and an attractive beacon of hope to those who do not know Christ.
In general, as Christ-followers, we are told that we should be grateful in everything and not complain or quarrel about anything. "Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, "children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation." Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky..." (Philippians 2:14-15). For marriage to work as Christ intended, we need to practice this with our spouse.
GRUMBLING AND ARGUING
This is a great word. My Bible uses the word "complaining" here, as many other versions do. Also, murmurings and disputing are often how this is translated. The point is that Christ Jesus does not want us to be whining about each other.
There are those that are expressers, and they will complain out loud to their spouse, and those that are internal grumblers, whose thoughts are filled with complaints. Either way, we are told not to do this. Similarly, some argue out loud, while others take a passive-aggressive approach to conflict. Either way leads to strife in the marriage, and we are told not to do this.
Instead of complaining or arguing with our spouses, we need to have an outlet for our disappointments and dissatisfactions. The answer is not to stuff or repress our feelings. We have Christ Jesus, who is always willing to listen to us, hear what we have to say, and give us guidance and direction.
All too often, we try to handle the complaints or disagreements in our own strength, which is another way of saying that we are in our flesh. Failing to let the Holy Spirit lead us never results in the best outcome. We need to go to Christ first with our complaint or grumbling and work through it with the Holy Spirit before we go to our spouse. Failing to do this leads to less than ideal results (to say the least), which creates strife in the marriage. Far too often, I try to change my wife, to "help" her grow and develop. After all, I'm a coach who helps people do this all day long. Well, this does not work well in my marriage. I must ask Christ to help Patty grow. The good news: Going to Christ grows my prayer life and intimacy with Him by doing so. And times I fail to do this, and try to solve things in my flesh, I confess as sin, seek Christ's forgiveness, and then make amends to Patty.
FREEDOM FROM STRIFE
Many marriages have a continually low level of strife that saps the energy of the couple and serves to distract from the work set before Christ-followers: The Great Commission. Satan and his demons work overtime on the marriages of Christ-followers, and we need to recognize that the enemy is Satan (lower case "S" intentionally). Our spouse is not our enemy, but when we feel attacked by complaints or grumblings, we can easily get fooled into thinking that our spouse is attacking us. If we want freedom from all strife in our marriages, we have to realize who the real enemy is and not get hooked into complaining or grumbling about our spouse, either out loud or silently.
Marriage, as conceived by Christ, is a sacred bond, a union where two people come together to grow spiritually and support each other in life's journey. While challenges are inevitable in any relationship, we are reminded through scripture that constant complaining and arguing are not the tools that foster growth or unity. Rather, they serve as distractions that detract from the greater purpose and mission we have as Christ-followers. By redirecting our complaints, grumblings, and dissatisfactions to Christ and seeking guidance through the Holy Spirit, we can address our concerns in a more constructive manner. In doing so, not only do we fortify our bond with our spouse, but we also strengthen our connection with Christ, allowing us to shine brightly as beacons of love, understanding, and peace.
Remember, the real battle isn't with our spouse, but with external forces trying to weaken our unity. Embracing this perspective can transform our marriages, enabling them to thrive in the grace and wisdom of Christ.
May God bless our marriages. Amen.
Your aspiring servant, Daniel M.
October 27, 2023
POSTSCRIPT: Dear friends, if this daily, transparent "Conversations with Christ" blesses you, please go to www.SOLIDpastors.org, where you will find these posted, and a repository of all, in English and Spanish. Note: All scriptures quoted are from the NIV.
If you ever want to chat, you can reach me at Daniel@SOLIDpastors.org. May Christ bless you richly as you have your own intimate, daily conversations with Christ.