Summary: We commit ourselves in marriage for better or for worse because both our equally possible. Conflict is just as real a potential as cooperation.
The question was asked of a class of Catholic girls-"What is
matrimony?" One girl confidently stood and said, "Matrimony is a
state of terrible torment which those who enter are compelled to
undergo for a time to fit them for heaven." "No, no," said the
priest, "You have given the definition of purgatory."
"Let her alone," said the Archbishop, "Maybe she's right." Her
definition of the word was wrong, but her description of the
experience of many in the state of marriage was right. Matrimony
can be a purgatory rather than the paradise God intended it to be.
Marriage can produce a paradise, or it can reduce a paradise to
ashes by means of the fires of conflict. Marriage is a paradox. It
can be the best or the worst state. We commit ourselves in marriage
for better or for worse because both our equally possible. Conflict is
just as real a potential as cooperation. There are those who tell us
that even conflict can have its values, and there is truth in this
perspective. What of the couple who reached the height of their
argument, and the wife exploded, "I wish I'd taken mother's advice
and never married you." The husband said, "Do you mean to say
your mother tried to stop your marrying me?" She nodded. "Well
now," sighed the husband, How I've wronged that woman."
Whatever value was gained, it is doubtful that the quarrel can be
counted a positive factor in marriage bliss, even if there are poets
who claim it is so.
O we fell out, my wife and I,
O we fell out, I know not why,
And kissed again with tears.
And blessing on the falling out
That all the more endears,
When we fall out with those we love,
And kiss again with tears.
The only reason there is any truth to this poetry is because some
mates only show affection to each other when they make up. Just
like some children can only get attention by causing a disturbance,
or by getting in trouble. It is not the conflict that is of any value, but
the peace settlement, and the kiss of peace. Anyone with a taste for
kissing, however, knows that its better without any salty sauce from
the eyes. Kissing again with tears is not a gourmet delight. Far
superior is the relationship where affection does not depend on
I read of a wise man who quarreled with his wife during their
50th year of wedded life. He tucked this note under his wife's
pillow. "My darling bride, let's put off quarreling until after the
honeymoon is over. Your devoted husband." Here was a husband
who took the high road to marital bliss by avoiding quarrels instead
of the low road of squeezing some value out of conflicts. Carlton
And if ever we meet in heaven
I shouldn't think it queer
That we loved each other the better
For the way we quarreled here.
My response is- When we meet in heaven
I should think it odd
If we loves each other better
For disobeying God.
It is always true that God can bring good out of evil, but it is
never wise to do evil in the hopes that good will come of it. Our
objective as Christians and as mates is to live in harmony and never
desire discord. What Paul says to Christians in general applies to
mates in particular. In Eph. 4:31-32 he wrote, "Get rid of all
bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every
form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
Following this path will lead to successful marriage, and Peter
tells husbands how they can be successful in seeing that their
marriage follows this path. Any husband who will follow Peter's
advice will not only be a successful husband, but he will be an
exceedingly happy husband. Any wife whose husband treats her
with the respect involved in what Peter says in this one verse will
lavish upon him more devoted love than all the harem of Solomon.
What does Peter say a husband must do to be successful? He must
I. RESPECT HER EXISTENCE AS A PERSON.
Peter says the husband is to be considerate as he lives with his
wife. This means that a husband is to care about what his wife
needs as a person to make her life fulfilled. She is a person who has
special needs and desires, and it is a husbands obligation to know
what they are. To ignore another's needs is to lack respect for them
as persons. Wives need to be treated as people worth
understanding. Phillips translation puts it, "You husbands should
try to understand the wives you live with." The NEB has it, "You