My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19-20 (NIV)
Considering the attributes of Christian marriage set out in 1 Corinthians 13 we now come to consider: ‘love … is not easily angered’.
Anger can be a destructive thing in marriage, particularly when it is not controlled. It is bad when one partner has a quick temper, but worse if both partners find it difficult to control their temper.
In James 1 we are told to be ‘… quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.’ The reason given by James is that ‘… human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires’. If this is true in life, it is also true in marriage. Anger generally results in things being said in the heat of the moment that hurt feelings and leave one or both parties ‘injured’.
When you find yourself in a confrontation situation, take a deep breath before answering and follow the advice given in Proverb 15:
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)
I guarantee that dspite your best efforts you will occasionally lose your temper, often over trivial things. In this situation Paul gives some sound advice in Ephesians 4:
‘In your anger do not sin’: do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27 (NIV)
There is nothing worse than a couple going to bed angry, allowing physical distance and silence to convey to their partner that they are still angry.
Part of the process of dealing with anger involves being able to forgive, but we’ll come to this in the next attribute we consider.
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