Did you know that marriage is the only relationship in Scripture where two people become one? It illustrates the Trinity’s triune relationship. The Trinity is three individuals with unique identities and roles, agreeing as one, in perfect harmony. Marriage is two individuals with unique identities and roles blending as one in perfect harmony. Well, at least it is two separate individuals with unique identities and roles. The agreeing part is something we must work on. But if we love one another enough, we can learn to disagree without hurting each other.
God tells us to leave our father and mother, cleave together, and become one (Gen. 2:24). Like the Trinity, we must develop the oneness of spirit. Though we love our parents, we grow up, marry, move away, and establish new families. Eventually, our children will leave and start their own families. Couples are together long after the children grow up and leave home, so we should make our marriage our priority.
Cotten Mather wrote, “Well ordered families naturally produce a good order in society.” God’s plan for a healthy marriage is to produce strong families. Healthy families create a healthy society. Marriage blends two people from different backgrounds and families, with different customs, traditions, and methods of communicating, into one. This will cause conflict. We can compare newlyweds to two porcupines trying to hug; the closer they get, the more they hurt one another.
By understanding a few fundamental relationship principles, we can find new ways to handle conflict. After we’re married, we can’t react to anger and disappointment as we did before. Learning to disagree without disagreement is crucial to any family. Ideally, most couples should build their relationship before having children, so they will have time to establish healthy methods of conflict resolution.
I’m from a large family with six loud kids. My husband, Michael, was the oldest of three bookworms. Two months after our wedding, we had our first big blow-up. We were outside when he made me angry. I started screaming. After all, that’s the way I had always handled conflict. He just said, “Woman, when you can carry on an intelligent conversation, I’ll be in the house.” With that, he sauntered in and closed the door. I was speechless. This changed my life by forcing me to learn about healthy conflict resolution. After all, what fun is it screaming at a closed door?
We expect occasional conflict in marriage. How we treat one another during the conflict seriously affects our relationship. We must focus on what we disagree on instead of throwing up past failures or using abusive, cutting words that hurt. We want to find a solution, not win an argument. If we need to fight to win, we should take up boxing. To create strong families, we need to concentrate on what’s best for the relationship and set aside our own agendas.
Our family should have a positive impact on our community. We are God’s witness to a lost world. People notice how we interact and how we speak to one another. They see our children’s demonstrations of love, making them wonder what makes our family different. What better time to share God’s love with them and draw them into His kingdom? When we build our family on God’s relationship principles, we will be in His plan for our lives and family. Making up is a lot more fun if you do not fight first.