My husband came into our marriage with a silver tea pot.
I came into our marriage with a dog.
The dog’s name was Joshua and we learnt some invaluable lessons from him.
We learnt about loyalty and faithfulness, about unconditional love and joy.
He would listen for our voices and would be waiting at the door to greet us when we arrived home. We never once caught him off guard. He could hear the sound of the engine of my husband’s vehicle from five hundred meters away and would go to the front door and wait. Once Steve entered the house, Joshua never left his side. He would follow him to the supper table, to the bathroom, to the garden. Whenever Steve moved the dog moved with him. He was as docile as a lamb until he felt we were being threatened and then he would be on his guard, ready to attack.
He represented everything that we as Believers should be.
We should constantly be listening for our Master’s voice.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them…I give them life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. —John 10:27-28
We should be following where He leads at all times and remain faithful to Him.
You must follow the LORD your God and fear Him. You must keep His commands and listen to His voice; you must worship Him and remain faithful to Him. —Deuteronomy 13:4
We should always be alert to the dangers that threaten our marriages. Marriages today come under all kinds of attack, we need to guard our lives against being too busy, working too many long hours, being self-absorbed. We should be ready to go on the attack when sin enters our lives or danger threatens our marriage.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. —1 Peter 5:8
One of the most important lessons we learnt from Joshua, however, was the damaging affect that quarreling has on those around us.
I am loath to confess this but I used to sulk. If Steve and I had a fight I would sulk. If it was a very serious fight I would sulk AND go and sleep in the spare room!
Joshua, who always slept in our room, would then spend his night walking between the two bedrooms. He would spend about ten minutes beside Steve and then walk to the spare room and spend about ten minutes with me and then repeat this action repeatedly. Usually, by about one a.m., I would not be able to take it any more—my heart would be aching for this dog. I would then leave the spare room and climb in beside Steve, making sure that I was as far away from him as possible, obviously! Joshua would then climb onto his blanket beside our bed, and immediately fall asleep. His little heart content once again that his owners were together.
Once I stopped sulking, we would reflect on the fact that if a dog could feel so troubled and unsettled by us quarreling, how much worse it must be for children when their parents fight and argue. How frightening to hear the voices of your parents raised in anger. We could only begin to imagine what a negative affect it must have on children when their parents fight.
In a three-year study of more than 300 families, researchers showed children films of adults arguing in different ways, and talked to children about their parents’ fights. The study finds that even though your argument may have nothing to do with the kids, if you fight the wrong way, it threatens their emotional stability.
There will be conflict in your marriage so it is vital that you and your spouse learn, very early on in the marriage, how to argue and resolve conflict in a calm and constructive manner.
A good verse to memorize from day one is Ephesians 4:26…
Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.