Thursday, June 9, 2011

Little Disagreements

Nathan and I will be celebrating 2 years of marriage bliss on Monday. Since it’s inching closer, it’s caused me to reflect on the past two years of our lives as husband and wife. Although marriage has been better than I ever expected it to be, I would be lying if I told you there haven't been times where we've disagreed, been selfish, or said things we regretted later. I’ll be reflecting more on the “sweet stuff” Monday on our actual anniversary, but for today I wanted to tackle this issue of disagreements.

Thankfully, Nathan and I agree on all the “major” things in life – our faith, our finances, how we want to raise a family one day, our convictions, etc. These never seem to be the subject of any of our disagreements, but Lord knows we’ve had our fair share of differences when it comes to the small stuff – who turns off the kitchen light before bed, dish duty, how to squeeze the toothpaste out of the tube, and putting things back in their proper places. And don’t these small disagreements just wear you flat out? When we’re in the thick of it, our opinions, points and feelings seem so important and worth fighting for, but only after the disagreement is over do we realize how silly and selfish we’ve been.

We’ve often discussed after having one of these “growth opportunities” that it would be so nice to have a formula . . . some sort of Don’t-Say-That-Or-You’ll-Regret-It-Later magic pill that we can take at the onset of a silly argument. It wasn’t until recently that I read something that really stuck with me and gave me a different perspective on all this.

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” – Ephesians 5:21 (NIV), emphasis mine

And I just love The Message’s interpretation of the verse:
“Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this particular section of chapter 5 in Ephesians. My Bible calls it the “Instructions for Christian households” section. It clearly spells out how husbands and wives should treat each other . . .the infamous verses being “Wives submit to your husbands; husbands love your wives,” but never before had I stopped to pause and reflect on the opening sentence of this section – “Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.”

It’s easy to be considerate of one another’s needs most days, but it’s much harder in times of disagreement. Sadly I admit, my attitude during disagreements is sometimes “I’ll surrender when he apologizes to me first.” Although I don’t know what goes through Nathan’s mind during times of disagreement, I can guarantee he’s had these same feelings too. We’re oftentimes too proud to give grace when we feel the other person doesn’t deserve it. After all, they started it, so shouldn’t they grovel first?

As I read through the passage, I couldn’t help but come back to that opening sentence - the one where God instructs us to be considerate not just when we are getting along or when we "feel like it," but because we respect Christ. It’s as if God is boldly saying, “If you love me, you’ll submit to your spouse. If you don’t submit, it’s as if you’re saying you don’t love me. Simple as that.”


Moving forward, I’m going to try and not only remember this verse, but live it out in our marriage. My prayer is that in times of disagreement I will stop and remember that if I love and live for God then this means I’m called to higher living – a life of grace, love and compassion – even when it may be hard.

Heavenly Father – Thank you for the truth in your Word. At the onset of disagreements, I pray you’ll help me to not pick up my battle weapons but instead, stop and remember that I love You, and I’m required to show grace, mercy, compassion and love even in difficult times. I realize now that in doing so, I’ll be giving you my emotions instead of spewing them on my spouse, and I’ll be showing you my love and devotion through humility. Forgive me for times when I’ve neglected this discipline and used my words as fire.


  1. This is a very humbling post and I'm so glad you posted it! Great reminders for every day life.

  2. I forgot we share an anniversary! Of course ours will be 3 years on Monday since we got married on Friday the year before!

    You are right about the little disagreements. I've learned to keep my mouth closed sometimes because it's really not as important as I think it is!

  3. Amen! It's amazing how emotions can cloud our thinking from God's perspective.

  4. What wisdom! If only I could zip my mouth and keep it shut (as my teacher used to tell me). Happy Anniversary!


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