Friday, March 17, 2023

The Brawling Spouse (Proverbs 19:13; 21:9; 27:15)

"It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop than in a house shared with a contentious woman" (Prov. 21:9).

God established marriage in the Garden upon the pronouncement that “it is not good that man should be alone.” In light of God’s intention for marriage, the preferred solitude of the husband in Proverbs 21:9 is woefully bleak. Here we have a man who would prefer separation from his wife to the abuses of her contentious temper, a man who would rather live with all the inconveniences of wind and weather than share a comfortable home with a quarrelsome woman.

Many have found themselves in such a state because they married a non-believer. The proverb can certainly apply to a man as well as a woman. It is no less difficult for a woman to live with a contentious man than a man to tolerate a “brawling” woman. The only difference is that an argumentative temper is much more disgraceful in a woman because it is such a contrast to the gentle and quiet spirit God commands of her. While a quarrelsome man is bad, a woman of the same temper is even worse because of its contrariness to the tender nature of a female.

Those who cross into the realm of the world to find a mate should not be surprised when their spouse becomes a thorn in their flesh, when he or she becomes almost unbearable to live with. Yet all is not lost even in such a state. Pray, cry, lift up your voice to God for relief from the trial that comes from your “own flesh.” Pray that God redeem the one who has become “rottenness in your bones” into one who would be your crown.

The healing balm for contention can only be found along the path of humility, for what else but pride leads one to be contentious? What else but lack of humility causes one to raise the voice or rail against the one God has provided as a blessing? If you find that a whirlwind of conflict constantly surrounds you, if you find it difficult to have even the most mundane conversation with your spouse without an argument erupting, pride is at the root. The axe, then, must be laid at the foot of the tree. Pray for humility. Pray that you will regard your spouse—as well as all others—as better than yourself. Pray to be like Christ, whose gentle and quiet spirit kept His encounters (and even confrontations) from becoming contentious brawls.

How much time do you spend arguing with your wife or your husband? What about nagging and complaining? Talk to your spouse today about whether you display a contentious spirit. Go to the Lord together and ask for a gentle and peaceful spirit. If you are not married, are you quarrelsome with others?