Devotional

But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union?And what was the one God. seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.” – Malachi 2:14-15 (ESV).  

Did you hear the one about the wedding ceremony of a young contract lawyer and his bride? When the minister got to the vows, he said “Do you take this woman for better? For worse? For richer? For poorer? In sickness? In conflict? And in health?” He was startled to hear the groom cautiously reply, “Yes. No. Yes. No. No. No. And yes.” Of course, we’d all like to sign up for the better, richer, and healthier parts when we get married and forget about all that other stuff. Especially conflict. Nobody wants conflict in their marriage or any other part of their lives.   

Conflict is common to all marriages, but that doesn’t mean they have to jeopardize a relationship. In fact, they can bring a couple closer together. It depends on how the couple handles the conflict. Some couples end up fighting and holding grudges, deciding to go through the motions on the outside but no longer caring on the inside. On the other hand, successful couples have the ability to actively work on the problem. They have developed a way to handle conflict; they have a conscious strategy or game plan for resolving their differences. One possible tool to help them do that is to plan and to convene a marriage peace conference. A peace plan can help couples get back to what is right rather than who is right in a conflict. 

We’re told in the Bible, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.“ (Romans 12:18) So we need to do what we can, with God’s help, to be a peacemaker within your home. Schedule a mutually agreeable “appointment” to discuss what’s bothering you. It is a face-to-face meeting to put your cards on the table and to resolve any differences and hopefully either take the steam out of the conflict or put it behind you. That doesn’t mean that you can never say anything negative to your spouse. It just means that you come to the peace conference prepared to both listen and carefully and prayerfully speak.

During the peace conference be willing to flex and yield to your partner at times. As we’re told in scripture. James 3:17 (TLB) says, “Wisdom… is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others. It’s full of mercy and good deeds. It’s wholehearted and straightforward and sincere.“  Romans 12:10 adds, “Love each other with genuine affection,[a] and take delight in honoring each other.” 

Rather than living with conflict, consider holding a peace conference and see how God wants to work in and reconcile each marriage.  

Discussion Questions:

  1. As a couple, do you have a conscious strategy or game plan for resolving your differences? If not, have you ever stopped to analyze the way you handle conflict? Does a peace conference make sense to you? If not, why not?