You Married the Wrong Person
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To begin I have a proverb for you. How would you respond if you got this in your fortune cookie this week?
Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox. (Proverbs 14:4)
Think about that for a moment. What does that even mean? Well – it means that if an ox is present, rather than a clean manger, you are gonna get some — well — stuff. Or, I could say this, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” When a man is alone, the manager is clean. Everything is fine! But in order to have crops and abundance he is going to need the strength of his help-mate. And with that ox comes — stinky — pooh.
Tonight we are going to talk about fighting. Conflict is a part of every relationship. Every couple fights. In fact, most of the books that I have read state that marriages that claim they do not fight are either lying or very unhealthy. Fighting is a part of marriage. To pick up where we left off last week. When God noted that it was not good for the man to be alone, he created for him (2 words) a “suitable help-mate”. The word help-mate in Hebrew is a military term that means ‘strong helper’. Like a king who helps another king in a battle or like God who fights Israel’s battles for her. And the word suitable literally means “like-opposite”. So God creates a strong helper who is like yet perfectly opposite of the man. Now you can’t use a military word in conjunction with this like-opposite concept with out having conflict. So, marriage, by it’s very definition (2 becoming 1 or 1 + 1 = 1), means fighting and conflict. One author said,
“All couples fight. Good couples fight clean, but bad couples fight dirty. Good couples press for a resolution, bad couples press for a victory. Conflict in good couples exposes their character. In bad couples it exposes their immaturity.” (Tommy Nelson)
Now if marriage is a holy institution designed by God to teach us the Gospel (see also… Eph 5:32), and if conflict is a natural and unavoidable part of being in such an intimate relationship, then wouldn’t you think the Bible would have some guidelines and instructions on how to fight? The Bible actually has quite a bit to say about conflict. It does teach us how to fight right. How to fight clean. How to fight in your marriage while at the same time fighting for your marriage. Tonight I want to examine that. But first, before we hit the mat, lets get warmed up. Let’s start with this discussion question.