Have you ever had one of those days with your spouse? It may not have been the whole day. Maybe it was merely a minute fraction of the day where you were not on the same wavelength as each other. Either way, it was one of those instances that, to put it kindly, felt less than lovely. It could have been a more weighty matter or it could have been a little less complex. Something that brought about a dispute or disagreement of some sort.
Most of the time it is something I like to avoid altogether, because I know handling a disagreement with my spouse with grace is not a strong suit of mine. My emotions, pulling my attitude along with them, get way ahead of me more than they should. Other times I let those emotions and bad attitude take us off on a nasty ride. Neither one of those is what I am called to as an imitator of Christ.
It is not okay for me to run away from a disagreement entirely, particularly if it is going to create an opening door for bitterness to root itself. It is also not acceptable to go ahead with an offensive demeanor because we are going to argue one way or the other anyway.
Herein lies my conundrum. How can I do this disagreeing thing better?
The best place to find my answer is always Jesus. Jesus is whom I want to echo in my relationships. His ways must perpetually become my ways.
What do I uncover in the Word when I seek wisdom in this matter?
When I think of the term ‘wisdom’ I almost instantaneously think of Proverbs.
Proverbs 15:14 The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.
I must be discerning in the conversation with my husband. That means I am called to show good judgment. I cannot be expressing a lack of good sense – arguing for argument’s sake. I must be wise in the words I choose to use.
Proverbs 15:18 A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.
Proverbs 16:32 Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.
Oh patience, what a common factor here. Do I think of being patient when I am already decided that I am in disagreement? I think it is safe to say it is probably the last thing on my mind.
Am I being patient with my husband when I storm out of the room and avoid the conversation altogether? Am I being patient when I promptly spew off all the reasons I am right and he is wrong?
Those are pretty rhetorical inquiries.
To be like Christ almost always calls us to have an attitude of intentionality.
It is easy to cause strife. It is not easy to be patient. This calls for discipline. A direct act of obedience on our part.
It takes work to communicate as an imitator of Jesus. However, it is an effort far worth it for everyone involved.