Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:15
I have experienced nothing stronger than a toddler throwing a temper tantrum in public. The way they arch their back, the force of their screams, the kicking feet. It makes me break out in a sweat just thinking about it. Our first three kids came close together so many days it felt like we had a trio conspiring against us in the tantrum contest.
I would read books and listen to audio programs in the hopes of finding tips and tricks for dealing with a toddler. One piece of advice I found not only helped us through those trying years, but it is something I still use today. That is staying calm and communicating.
Just stay calm. That sounds so easy, right?
I would bet many conflicts in marriage could be avoided if we stayed calm. A woman complained once because her husband had not done the dishes while she was at work. She stormed outside to work on another project he had neglected in the hopes of avoiding him. The entire time she was outside, she was ramping up her emotions over the incident.
Instead of staying calm, she exploded. Initially, she didn’t explode on her husband, but eventually, it led to him, and there was an argument over dirty dishes. What would have happened if she stayed calm and asked about the dishes instead of assuming he intended to cause her anxiety by not helping around the house?
Another man complained that his wife never says hello to him when he comes in from work. I wondered if she was standing in the kitchen thinking the same thing – “He never says hello to me when he gets home.”
These examples may sound ridiculous, but we can let those small things in our marriage become big things when we fail to stay calm and communicate in love.
Before His death on the cross, Jesus spent time with the disciples, giving them the command to love one another.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34
The people on the street may know you are a Christian because of your bumper stickers, but do the people in your home see the love of Christ through you? I’m afraid we can sometimes easily love those outside of our homes, but when showing love to our spouse, we don’t stay calm but incite anger and bitterness.
What would it look like to love your spouse the way Jesus loves you?
How could you serve your spouse?
Examine your heart. Do you have a critical spirit? Ask the Lord to show you the areas where you need more patience at home. Are you spending time thinking about all the ways your spouse is failing you or meditating on the things they do right? When you come across a situation where you can find yourself reacting in anger, stay calm. Pray and ask the Lord to give you eyes to see the situation as He sees it. Ask the Lord to give you the right words to say.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
Strive to be a peacemaker. That comes with communication. Your spouse can’t read your mind. I know that may be a shocking revelation. Please don’t assume they know your dreams and desires. Be willing to talk about things together. Then, when discussing important matters, be ready to stay calm and listen. Seek to understand your spouse and then give them the gift of communication and love as you treat them with patience.