You can see the scowl on his face after a few days of what seems to him to be non-stop complaining from his wife. The look on her face reveals that she isn’t too happy either. She has approached him with the same issue over and over again. Her anger has been boiling and she’s about to boil over. That’s particularly scary because he thinks she already has. They are raising their voices. Neither is listening to the other. They are not practicing the rule that says, “If you don’t have something good to say, don’t say anything at all.”
You know this couple. They are in your small group at church. You’ve been to their work places and have seen them in stressful situations. They are typically so kind to their co-workers. You’ve seen them practice compassionate to others in stressful situations. You have been amazed at how quickly they get back on good terms with those who hurt them. Why can’t they be that way to each other?
How do you know this couple? Do you see them when you look in the mirror?
By inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul told us what kind of life the “new” person lives. For many of us marriage is the most challenging place to live the new self consistently in regard to this command: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Eph. 4:31-32).
The path to maturity in this area begins with these three very important steps:
1. Determine it is God’s will for you in your marriage. It is, but you need to make that decision.
2. Become very aware of just what it is that God wants from you perhaps by memorizing the behavior to get rid of and the behavior to add.
3. Choose to begin to respond now in the way of the new person.