Our parents did it to us, and so we did it to our child. You know, when you acted up, your parents used to count “One… Two… Three…” You knew that you had better shape up before they got to three, or you were going to face the consequences.
At an early age, we trained our son about how the “One, Two, Three” thing worked. He grasped the concept, and it actually worked sometimes. But other times he failed to straighten out prior to reaching “Three”, and then the consequences happened.
As do all newlywed couples, early on in our marriage we had disagreements from time to time because we were still adjusting to each other. It normally was about something very trivial, but we both wanted it our way. We were independent before getting married, and so it was an adjustment to live with someone, having to give into their wants, needs and desires. So arguments happened.
We didn’t argue much in front of others, because we had the facade of being the perfect little Christian couple. After all, we were the church high school leaders. But unfortunately there were lots of times when we argued in front of our son. In the heat of the moment, tempers flared, and words were spoken with raised voices.
I can distinctly remember driving somewhere one day, with Karen and I in the front, and our son in the back in his child’s car seat. An argument started, about something which I don’t recall. After a few moments, we heard from the back, “One… Two… Three…” We instantly stopped arguing, and started laughing. It was funny at the time, but soon later, we realized that we weren’t behaving the way we would want our child to behave; especially when he grew up. We weren’t a good example of a married couple with God in the center. So from that point on, we decided not to argue in front of our son again. I’m sure it happened from time to time afterwards, but it was very few and far between, with the tone being far less.
Interestingly what happened is that the more we suppressed arguing in front of our son, for his benefit, the less we felt the need to argue when we were all alone. Our caring for one another’s needs, desires and wants increased, and our selfish desires decreased. In other words, our marriage grew stronger.
I can just imagine God watching us, fumbling through life, making mistakes and sinning against Him. He is our heavenly Father, but there is one big difference. He doesn’t count just to three. He gives us a seemingly unlimited number of chances to do the right thing, and offers His forgiveness and salvation every time we mess up.
I hope this and the below verses help you to be the spouse and parent God wants you to be.
- “Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them.” 2 Timothy 2:14
- “An angry person starts fights; a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin.” Proverbs 29:22
- “Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.” 2 Timothy 2:23-24
- “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” Philippians 2:14-15
- “Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise.” Proverbs 13:10