From Adam blaming his original sin on Eve to Abraham and Isaac pretending their wives were their sisters to Zipporah calling Moses a “bloody husband,” the Bible is full of conflict between husband and wife. It’s not something that can be avoided in the long-term; as humans, we are going to fight and sometimes those fights are big enough to tear us apart.
The Bible is very clear about the bond between husband and wife. It is a permanent bond, one that Jesus asserted should not be broken except in the case of fornication. This can be challenging to comprehend since He also said that any man that lusts after another woman has committed adultery in his heart, which means that there is no such thing as a human being who has not committed adultery. If lust is adultery and adultery is fornication, does that mean that lust is fornication? By these standards, one might believe that marriage is a doomed concept, that the bonds are too feeble to hold throughout a lifetime spent between two people.
This is where faith comes into play the most in our daily lives. Our walk with Yeshua as our Lord and Savior should be constant. It’s not something that starts and ends on Sunday (or Saturday if you keep the proper Sabbath). It’s ongoing and should be at the top of mind through all of our actions and interactions. That includes our walk with our spouses and it requires the highest degree of faith to accept the shortcomings of the ones we love. Despite the strife that always pops up from time to time in any marriage, there’s actually a very simple way to fix just about any situation other than fornication.
To do this, we need to look at the story of the adulterer at the temple.
…let him first cast a stone…
There is something carnal about anger. It’s uncontrollable at times, particularly when we feel slighted. This can become much more pronounced when they that offend us are loved ones and when the offender is our spouse, it is easy for us to be clouded by feelings of betrayal.
Part of human nature is to feel and say things that are only true in the moment if they were ever true at all. We are often quick to judgment and quicker to anger, particularly when we feel justified in our feelings. Between a man and a woman, these feelings can be amplified. There is more passion involved from both directions; we feel a love that is more focused than any other with a human and when anger is in play, it stings worse than when it comes from someone else. That’s the nature of marriage, particularly when two people have been married for a long time.
One way to overcome this anger is to remember the words of Yeshua when He was presented with an adulterous woman. The Jews were correct to say that their law demanded that she be stoned just as we are often correct to assume that it’s okay to be angry with a spouse when we feel they have done wrong by us. Rather than go against the law, which Yeshua never did, He instead turned them inward towards the guilt that they should have felt of themselves.
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.John 8:7 (KJV)
Were they right to want to follow the law and stone her? Yes. Were they righteous enough to do so? No.
The same can be said about a married couple when one or both feel wronged. Arguments happen and they can push a married couple apart, but it’s important to remember that none of us are righteous enough to cast emotional stones at one another. Just because we feel like our perspective is right doesn’t mean that our spouse must share that same perspective. Forgiveness is the ultimate gift that we were granted by our Father through the Son. It is also the best gift that we can give to another human.
With our spouse, it is more than just a gift. It is fortification of the bond. It empowers our second love, the love between a married couple, to shine. The bond between a man and a woman is the only bond that is rarely contrary to our bond with the Son. Even our bond with our children or our parents can be in conflict with the love we are to hold most dear, but the love between a man and a woman can be used to strengthen our love for our Creator.
In Matthew 10, Yeshua is telling His disciples how they must go forth across Israel and spread His teachings. He warns them of what they are to see in their journeys, including the conflict between relatives.
34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.Matthew 10:34-37 (KJV)
Take note that Yeshua does not mention strife between husband and wife. The reason that he doesn’t is that there shouldn’t be strife between married couples as it pertains to faith. Yes, husband and wife will argue about their kids, the parents, or what to eat for dinner, but they should be in lockstep when it comes to faith. Some would say that it’s impossible, but I don’t believe that it is. Husband and wife shall be one flesh through their bond and despite common disagreements, there really shouldn’t be one when it comes to faith.
During those times when other strife enters into the relationship, it’s very easy for us to fight. In fact, it’s part of human nature to want to defend our position, to accuse others (even our spouse), and to justify our perspectives by tearing down the perspectives of others. This is when faith must come into play as its strongest force between two people. When a husband and wife fight, their shared faith may be the only thing that can mend the wounds they cause each other.
When faith is the core of the marriage, it’s much more challenging to break the other bonds such as shared interests, worldly decisions, or simply enjoying one another. Strife can tear a couple apart, but it can also be the starting point for two people to strengthen their bond by making their faith the foundation of their love for one another.