I overheard my Mom and Dad having an argument when I was about eight or nine years old. My eavesdropping ears couldn’t pick up all the words that my Mom was saying, but Dad’s words were clear: “You just want something to fuss about.”

Dad was accusing Mom of being contentious, but it was a charge that applied to both of them.

Over 50 years later I can still recall the words, “You just want something to fuss about.” Unknowingly, my Dad and Mom taught me some marriage lessons.

1. Don’t fuss unnecessarily.

“If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth. Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.” (Proverbs 30:32-33)

Fussing is fretting and stewing combined with bothering someone else. We want them to be as bothered as we are, so we fuss at them. This is a hazardous habit. Would you want to live with someone who picks at you until you’re irritated? Instead of badgering, aim to have a calm discussion when the timing is right, which is usually not when you are feeling annoyed.

2. Keep the tone of voice under control.

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)

Bible commentator Matthew Henry was so right when he said, “hard arguments do best with soft words.” When the discussion is already intense, don’t turn up the heat with a harsh tone of voice. Guard your T.V.T: tone, volume, and temper. You are speaking to a loved one, not an enemy.

3. When it’s all said and done, love one another.

“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

Jesus defined love like this: love each other as I have loved you. What kind of love is that? It is a sacrificial love so enormous that He gave His life to display the magnitude of how much we mean to Him. Christ didn’t ask us to outdo His love. He said to copy it. Love your loved ones with Christ’s definition of love—the love that says “I’ll lay down my life for you.”

Mom and Dad finished that argument their way: Mom shed some tears, Dad said some soothing words of reconciliation, and they worked things out together. Pride would have dug in its heels, but humility allowed them both to admit where they were wrong. They probably didn’t know it, but they provided a valuable education for their eavesdropping daughter.

“Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” (Proverbs 13:10)

Published: May 9, 2020

Keyword: Contention
Defined: “Strife in words or debate; quarrel; angry contest; controversy.” Reference
© Francie Taylor

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