If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. —Romans 12:18 RSV
Our forty-seven-year marriage has survived rearing three kids, building a do-it-yourself house, changing jobs, and losing both sets of parents. But nothing challenges my husband’s and my relationship more than a road trip together.
Dean does the driving and watching traffic and road conditions while I read the map and road signs, letting him know where the exits and the rest areas are. While he depends on me to play the role of navigator, he doesn’t appreciate it when I help him drive, such as pointing to the car ahead and shouting, “BRAKE! BRAKE!” Or flinching or gasping when it looks as though a tractor-trailer is too close.
If I want my marriage intact at the end of the trip, it’s better, when my navigating skills aren’t needed, to keep my nose in a book or magazine and not on the speedometer or traffic. After nearly five decades, I’m still learning that “he who keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble” (Proverbs 21:23), and that a soft answer does diffuse a tense situation (Proverbs 15:1).
Still, I fight attitudes and feelings that could easily put us on the wrong road—Selfish Street—that leads only to the town of Heartache.
“Make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification,” Paul wrote in the first century in the book of Romans. Those words are especially needed in the home, where I long to let my hair down. It’s hard being nice all day. Sometimes I don’t want to be nice. I don’t want to say the words or do the thing that makes for peace. I want to be mean, to retaliate when someone hurts me, to have the last word. But I know such actions lead only to more strife.
“As far as it depends on you” means I’m responsible, not for what my husband says and does, but for my own actions and reactions. It means keeping quiet when he tries a new route to see if it will save time but it adds more instead. It means biting my tongue and saying something positive through missed exits, wrong turns, crying kids, slow pokes, drivers, and time-consuming detours.
“It’s better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife,” Solomon wrote in Proverbs 21:19. I don’t want to be a wife whose nagging is “like a constant dripping on a rainy day” (Proverbs 27:15). I’d rather be the wife of Proverbs 31, who brings her husband good, not harm, all the days of her life (verse 12).
Lord, help me to be the wife my husband needs so that he can be all You plan for him to be. Enable me to be a true helpmeet. Amen.
Read and reflect on Romans 12:9–18.
From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Image by Mindz from Pixabay