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

could write-

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



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

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