Many marriage squabbles are not really about whatever it was you were squabbling about. Frequently the man thinks it is, and sometimes the woman can convince herself it is, but it almost never is about whatís for dinner, or what youíre doing next week, or the color of the curtains. This doesnít mean that those things donít matter; it just means they are fodder for the squabble. But the instructions God gives to husbands and wives really are 98% of the answers. Yes, youíll still need to figure out that practical question, but if you obey Godís commands, itís way easier to answer that question in the sunlight of Godís blessing than in the dark and dingy basement of your conflict.†
So what are Godís instructions? They basically amount to one instruction for both of you, and one instruction to each of you. The instruction to husbands is to love your wife, like Christ loved the church and suffered and died for her. Husbands you cannot duplicate the cross, but you have the very clear assignment from the living God to imitate it. This means that you must know your wife well, know what actually weighs on her, and not what you think probably is bothering her or maybe even what she says is bothering her. And you must honor her and cherish her every step of the way, in what you say and how you say it, not despising any weakness.
And the instruction to wives is to respect your husband. This means that you must look up to him, and not down on him. He is not one of the kids; he is not your roommate. He is your lord. Regardless of whether you think he deserves it, the living God has commanded you to honor him. And this means respecting the kind of man that he is. This does not mean respecting his sin, but you must respect his gifts and abilities and interests, and not the ones you wish he had.
And finally, the instruction given to both of you is to forgive one another as you have been forgiven by Christ. How often have you been forgiven? You canít count that high. So forgive your spouse seventy times seven. How have you been forgiven?†Freely. So freely forgive. How much have you been forgiven? You have been forgiven†much. So love much.