There are many reasons why quarrels arise, and every quarrel in every couple is a unique case. However, there are certain points that apply to all and are written about in the Holy Scriptures. Because understanding the reasons for quarrels is essential to removing them, I will address the topic in this article from this perspective – how to avoid family quarrels?
Here is the question that was asked to me on the moldovacrestina.md website:
Why do you think there are quarrels in the family sometimes for insignificant reasons? In such cases, those who quarrel pass in a second from love to hate. It would be good to be vice versa. Thank you and may God help us.
1. Understand the main reason for quarrels
If you read surveys, you will see that, most of the time, money is invoked as the main reason for quarrels of married couples. Is that really the case? There are deeper reasons that God presents to us in the Holy Scriptures. In Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, chapter 1 tells us that people, in general, boasted that they were wise and rejected God in their lives. Consequently, God also forsook them, and thus they were left alone in the will of their broken mind, which brought many serious consequences that affect their lives and relationships with each other. One of these consequences is that they have become “full of wickedness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness,” (Romans 1:29). And the Word of God also says in the same chapter of the Epistle to the Romans that sinful people “know the judgment of God, that those who do such things are worthy of death, yet they not only do them, but also approve those who practice them,” (Romans 1:32).
In the Epistle of James we find other valuable information about the main source that feeds family quarrels. I quote:
Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, free of hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:13-18 NASB)
God’s Word tells us that there are two kinds of wisdom. One is earthly, natural, devilish, and is characteristic of every man who lives without God because he inherits it at birth along with sinful nature. This wisdom is manifested by the fact that it nourishes the heart, that is, the thinking of man, with bitter envy and a spirit of quarrel, but he does not recognize it, but on the outside he wants to show something else and boasts such lies. While carrying such attitudes in his heart, at the first opportunity the man causes disorder in his relationships and in his house and all sorts of other bad deeds.
Another wisdom is presented here, the one from above, that is, from God and which is manifested through meekness. As long as there is peace around you and everyone is kind to you, it is not difficult to be gentle. True gentleness is manifested when situations of conflict are created, but through the wisdom above, from God, you can keep your gentleness, be peaceful, let yourself be easily swayed when you are not right and others are. So, the main secret in overcoming quarrels that consume families is to build a beautiful and lasting relationship with God through which to ask forgiveness for your sins and receive wisdom from God through daily study of the Holy Scriptures.
2. Don’t give the devil a chance
Like the children of God, all Christians, though formerly accustomed to quarrel often, are now called upon to put off their old way of life, the former self who was corrupted by deceptive lusts, and to renew themselves in the spirit of their minds, putting on the new man, made in the image of God, by a righteousness and holiness which the truth of the Word of God gives. If there are conflicts between a husband and wife, they must resolve them by sunset, as our Lord tells us:
Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. (Ephesians 4:26-27 NASB)
Often the quarrel grows even more because in their stubbornness neither spouse wants to take the initiative of reconciliation or, even worse, when he doesn’t even respond to the initiative of the other and stays upset. Remember the words of the Lord Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount:
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9 NASB)
3. Don’t speak unwholesome words
In the same Epistle to the Ephesians it says:
Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but if there is any good word for edification according to the need of the moment, say that, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:29-30 NASB)
Even when the quarrel begins, be careful and measure your words well so that not a word will come out of your mouth. Beware, a corrupt word is not just uncensored speech or cursing, but any word that destroys and ruins the one who hears it. The child of God should not speak such words. Therefore, keep in mind that in quarreling you are much more vulnerable to the devil’s traps to speak words that destroy. These words not only ruin your family relationship, but also grieve the Holy Spirit by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let’s take into account the way we always talk, and especially when a conflict situation has arisen:
…and there must be no filthiness or foolish talk, or vulgar joking, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. (Ephesians 5:4 NASB)
4. Stick to the role you received from God in marriage
Men and women have different roles in marriage and conflicts often arise when one of them neglects his role or wants to take over the role of the other. The Bible talks a lot about the role of husband and wife, and I recommend that you take the inductive Bible study course “Marriage Without Regrets” by Kay Arthur, which deals deeply with this subject and others related to marriage. Between October 1-12, 2012, my wife and I will teach this course in its entirety during the Spiritual Counseling session at the Institute of Inductive Bible Study in Moldova. We invite those who want to enroll in this institute starting with that session, but here I want to quote a passage from Peter’s Epistle 1, where it says:
In the same way, you wives, be subject to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won over without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your pure and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely the external—braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, or putting on apparel; but it should be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way the holy women of former times, who hoped in God, also used to adorn themselves, being subject to their own husbands, just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord; and you have proved to be her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear. You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:1-7 NASB)
In order to prevent and settle conflicts in the family, a woman must be submissive to her husband, have a clean and fearful way of life, and continually adorn herself in the hidden person of the heart with a gentle and quiet spirit (which does not allow itself to be easily provoked to quarrel and does not cause quarrels). By the example of Sarah and Abraham, women are urged to speak to their husbands always with all due respect. Men, in turn, must behave wisely with their wives and give them due honor. Not just waiting to be honored, but always honoring wives. In this way many quarrels will be avoided and harmony will prevail in the couple.
5. Stop an argument before it grows
The wise king Solomon wrote:
The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so abandon the quarrel before it breaks out. (Proverbs 17:14 NASB)
Arrogant people inflame a city, but wise people turn away anger. (Proverbs 29:8 NASB)
When you see that an argument is starting, see if you can do something to stop it, and if not, at least don’t ignite it more. See if you can find a solution to the conflict, avoiding quarreling. May God help us all.
Translated by Liza Bîrlădeanu