“…I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. 1 Corinthians 1:10 (NLT)
Is being a peacemaker the same thing as being a peacekeeper? Many marriages today pursue a “peacekeeping strategy,” hoping to prevent conflicts and the crisis that sometimes result. But since conflict is often inevitable, the peacekeeping mission does not always succeed. What we need as married couples is a “peacemaking” strategy. Psalm 34:14 says: “Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”
Many people believe that being a peacemaker means being submissive. Christian women can feel as if submission means that they may state their opinion, but then they back down and let the husband make the decision. That means the wife did not question and she did not agree. If our aim is to seek peace and not just elude conflict, then this does not solve anything.
That’s because we tend to see conflict as something to be avoided: so if we disagree, one must submit, or else the conflict will keep going. But what if all conflict is not win-lose? What if handling conflict effectively means that you each find a win-win? What if conflict can actually be one of the routes to a more healthy marriage?
A peacekeeper simply avoids conflict. When there’s a disagreement, they retreat. A peace-maker is aiming for much more: they’re aiming for reconciliation. And reconciliation is active, not passive. It means working through our disagreements in a healthy way. It means listening and understanding your spouse’s feelings. It means developing solutions together.
Can you see the difference? There is no name calling. They talk through the issue, and at the end of the day, the couple find out new things about each other. They found out they were on the same page, that they did value each other. It’s just that sometimes it went unrecognized. By talking it through it brought those feelings out into the open and the peacemaking process can go forward.
That’s what being a peacemaker is–it’s getting the husband and wife on the same page.
- What is the difference between a peacekeeper and a peace maker in your mind?
- Is it realistic to think you can keep the peace all the time?
- Do you believe that one person has to submit in order to solve a conflict? Does one spouse have to lose? Why?
- Pray and ask God to help you develop into a peacemaker in your marriage.