The Number One Problem in Marriages—Strife
Harmony at home is one of the greatest blessings in life. It’s also one of the easiest blessings to lose if we don’t make a decision to do all we can to nurture our marriage relationship.
From the Scriptures you can learn the proper attitude about marriage: “Let marriage be held in honor (esteemed worthy, precious, of great price and especially dear) in all things. And thus let the marriage bed be undefiled (kept undishonored); for God will judge and punish the unchaste [all guilty of sexual vice] and adulterous” (Hebrews 13:4, The Amplified Bible).
When a couple ceases to view their marriage as precious and dear, they can become selfish and contentious with one another. Left uncorrected this attitude will lead to full-blown strife and can eventually lead to things such as sexual sin, divorce, physical injury or death.
We must learn from the Word of God how to live in harmony with each other. If we aren’t doing what it takes to live in harmony, then we are choosing to live in the destructive arena of strife.
Strife is deadly. It opens the door for the devil to steal, kill and destroy our home life. Any time we’re in strife, we give the devil permission to take us captive—at his will. II Timothy 2:24-26 says, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient. In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”
Strife gives the devil the upper hand! Throughout the Scriptures, God warns us about the danger of strife. Yet, it’s still one of the most common problems among believers. Of course, we don’t purposely let it in. We don’t wake up in the morning and say, “I think I’m going to stir up some major strife at home today.” We just inadvertently let it slip up on us—one minor irritation at a time.
If you have a tendency to let things irritate you, then decide to overcome that tendency. Take a big stand against those little opportunities for strife. If you’ve spent a lifetime getting your feathers ruffled over every little thing, it may take a while for you to break that habit, but you can do it. You may have to work at it a moment at a time, but when you do, you’ll be in a place where God can guide your steps and save you from some grave mistakes.
Strife feeds on selfishness. And one of the easiest places to remain selfish is with those dearest to you, in your own home. Being in front of other people often provides an added incentive to operate in love. You can find yourself being nicer and more courteous to friends and acquaintances than to your own family. At home with your family, temptation can come to allow selfish privileges that promote disharmony—as if selfishness had no consequences at home. You may find yourself saying things to those close to you that you wouldn’t dream of saying to anyone else. Thoughtless, hurtful words spoken to our spouse or children can set us up for a strife-ridden home life.
Disagreements happen in every relationship, but it’s more important to avoid strife than to appear justified in our opinions.
So how do we stop strife? We do it by going to the Word of God to seek His wisdom in settling disputes. The wisdom from above is peace, loving and easily entreated, willing to yield to reason.
A husband and wife will see things differently, but if they are both committed to the Word, strife can’t exist. If each of them walk in love and give the Word of God first place in their life (instead of selfish desires), Satan will have no foothold to bring disharmony and division. Allowing the Word of God to be the final authority in settling disagreements will take the pressure off everybody and it will restore harmony in your home.
A Christian husband and wife who learn to live and pray in harmony are mighty instruments of the Lord Jesus. When they agree and pray together about something, it will come to pass (Matthew 18:19). The rewards of living in harmony and backing each other with prayer are more than worth the effort it takes to walk in love with each other.
Don’t let the devil trick you. The moment that you become aware of Satan trying to move you into an area of strife, stop him immediately with the Name of Jesus. Learn to resist strife just as you learned to resist sin and sickness. The Word says, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory…” (Philippians 2:3). Obey God’s Word and be free from Satan’s evil works.
If you need further counsel, please consider contacting your local pastor or a pastor in your area who is full of the Word of God. Allow him to minister and counsel with you.