Have you ever had an impasse in your marriage? You know, two people, coming from different backgrounds, temperaments and giftedness, who look at the same data, truth, or reality, and come away with opposite conclusions? No amount of talk, persuasive efforts, argumentation, pouting, manipulation or pressure can change their perspective. Period. From their perspective 2 + 2 seems to equal 4.2. It’s the irresistible force against an immovable object!
Well, what to do. Pout? Yell? Threaten? Withdraw? Cast blame? Slander? Move to the Bahamas? What?
No, as a sheer act of the will you start with praying over, and applying I Corinthians 13:4-8. You just do it, because it’s not about being right. It is about being Christ-like: “Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always ‘me first,’ doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end. Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit.” (Msg.)
Next you prayerfully ponder James 1:2-5: “When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence. And if, in the process, any of you does not know how to meet any particular problem he has only to ask God-who gives generously to all men without making them feel foolish or guilty-and he may be quite sure that the necessary wisdom will be given him.”
You have a trial in your life that God intends to use to produce in you the quality of perseverance that translates into spiritual maturity. God is more concerned about your development character-wise then in you being right relative to the impasse. He intends to use the impasse to forge godly character in you…with no guarantee of solving the impasse. (Rom. 5:3-5)
Then, you prayerfully mull over and apply the characteristics of wisdom mentioned in James 1:5 (above), as amplified in James 3:17, 18. That is, you concentrate on you, making the necessary character changes, and let God take care of the necessary changes in your spouse:
“…The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all:
“Pure”: Literally, clean, modest, innocent. (See Phil. 4:8; 2 Cor. 11:2) Question: Am I living without hypocrisy? With total integrity?
“Peace-loving”: Literally, loving peace, bringing peace. (See Heb. 12:11) Question: Do I really desire peace (but not at the sacrifice of purity)?
“Considerate”: Literally, patient, mild, yielding, equitable. (See Phil. 4:5; 1 Pet. 2:18) Question: Am I truly a reasonable person or am I dogmatic and arbitrary? Is it “my way or the highway”?
“Submissive”: Literally, compliant, good for persuasion, reasonable. (See Eph. 5:21, 22; 1 Pet 3:1,2) Question: Am I willing to carefully consider and even submit to my spouses’ preferences over my own?
“Full of mercy”: Literally, compassionate, tender, possessing pity. (See Jms. 2:13,16) Question: Am I willing to lighten up and not demand my standard? Do I allow for mistakes and human frailty?
“Good fruit”: Literally, good deeds. (See Phil. 1:11; Matt. 7:17,18) Question: Is what I am saying validated by the integrity of my attitudes and actions?
“Impartial”: Literally, unwavering, unhesitating, not doubting. (See Jms. 1:6) Question: Is my thinking and are my decisions based on the solid foundation of a pattern of applied Biblical truth in my life?
“Sincere”: Literally, genuine and unfeigned. (See Rom. 12:9) Question: Am I the genuine, authentic, article? That is, unaffected, real, frank, truthful, and honest at the core?
This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight Hill