The “experts” say that one key way to catch the attention of your audience would be to offer up a title such as, “The Five Biggest Areas of Conflict in Marriage”. Maybe it would be about how money, sex, communication, children, or unmet expectations can be a source of conflict in marriage. This would be a tempting title to write about, but what if I told you that I believe there is a definite root cause of conflict that can be traced all the way back to the beginning?
Have you ever read the account of “The Fall” in Genesis 3? Well, there is plenty of blame for everyone to go around so ladies don’t think I’m putting this on you. In fact, the bible says that for their part the guys will get to enjoy the painful toil of work all the days of their lives. In that chapter, God admonishes the enemy, the woman, and the man over their act of disobedience, but I want to bring into focus a particular part of scripture that doesn’t always get the respect it deserves.
If you are like me and prefer the NIV version of the Bible, the portion of scripture I’m talking about is this: Genesis 3:16, “…Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” I think that this direct translation isn’t as obvious and illuminating of the meaning intended in the context of scripture, but I do like how the ESV puts it as it seems to me to be closer to the intended message.
Genesis 3:16 ESV “…Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”
Again, I’m not picking on the women or even placing blame on either gender. This isn’t a very easy passage of scripture to accept for either men or women. Another translation (NLT) even says, “…And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” This isn’t justifying that men have the right to rule over their wives. Quite the contrary, it just means God has pronounced that both men and women will be subject to the selfish desires of competing agendas in our marital relationships, and that will certainly lead to conflict. This is the curse that we all must confront in the midst of sin in marriage. BUT…there is hope! Let your heart not be troubled because Jesus came to overcome our sin so that we could live a more abundant life.
Ephesians 5:21, 25, 33 (NIV) “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ…Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
In these three great passages, the Apostle Paul writes some guidelines that will help us on our journey in marriage. Through the power of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our marriage, we can overcome this curse of selfish conflict in marriage. If we are seeking God in our marriage, as well as His good, pleasing, and perfect will, we will be able to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. If husbands are loving their wives sacrificially as demonstrated by the cross of Christ, their wives will recognize it, and respond to their husbands by demonstrating respect for her husband as commanded in scripture.
As for “The Five Biggest Areas of Conflict in Marriage”, namely: money, sex, communication, children, or unmet expectations. If you can master what is outlined in Ephesians 5, somehow I don’t think those issues will be as big as they once were, but if so maybe we’ll tackle them in a post sometime in the near future.