Life is so unfair. We hear this complaint all the time. Our culture will tell us that if we are in conflict then our spouse is not our soul mate and we ought to start looking for someone else. The Bible has a very different perspective. Paul writes that those who marry will face great heartache and I want to spare you this. (1 Cor 7:28) I am sure that this verse would not make the list of popular wedding texts. We don’t like to be told that life can stink and our marriage will face conflict.
We need to understand that every marriage is a cross cultural endeavor. Any time two individuals decide to join their lives to one another, challenges will arise. We are unique individuals with our own needs and desires that will at times run in conflict with those of our spouse. If we are honest, every relationship will experience conflict. This is part of being broken people.
Fortunately, the text from John does not abandon us to our troubles. The second half of the verse tells us to take heart because Christ has overcome the world. We can take heart because our God is there for us in the midst of our challenges.
When we nurture our spiritual life, we will be more able to see the world with God’s perspective. It is a blessing when we can adjust our vision to see our spouse as an image bearer of God. We will all disappoint each other and fall short of living our lives with the holiness God desires. Are we able to seek forgiveness when we mess up and strive to live in ways that honor God and our spouse?
Sometimes we need to be reminded that God placed us on the same team when he brought us together. Our spouse is not the enemy in our conflict, but a fellow struggler. How are you supporting your team mate? Are there ways that you are contributing to the conflict? What do you need to ask forgiveness for?
Seek God’s wisdom in your struggles and take heart, because the one who has overcome the world dwells within us and walks with us through our troubles.
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra