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 conflict.

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 first-


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

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