Editor's note: This article was originally published on All in Marriage blog. It has been republished here with permission.
Did you know that arguing and fighting are not Biblical marriage concepts? There is no such thing as "fighting fair" in the Bible. In fact, God says He doesn't want husbands and wives to fight at all. No offense to those fine authors who write about such things, but my Bible left out those verses.
What the Bible does say is that people, even Christian folks, will disagree and should find a way to come to agreement on things. It leaves room for difficult conversations and for allowing each other room (and grace) to express our feelings and even to complain. But fighting and quarreling are not allowed in our marriage.
Proverbs 17:19 says, "He who loves a quarrel (fight, argument), loves sin."
Proverbs 18:1 tells us that a person who starts quarrels is "unfriendly, selfish and lacking sound judgement."
Proverbs 15:18 reminds us that quarrels and conflicts are stirred up by "hot-tempered" people, and that a "patient" person (a fruit of the Spirit by the way) calms a quarrel.
Then there are Proverbs 19,21 and 25 that spotlight a "quarrelsome wife" and how awful it is to live with such a person. I am sure it holds true for a quarrelsome husband as well.
So, stop it! If God says that arguing, fighting, quarreling/nagging are "sin", than the short answer is stop sinning. Don't look for a way to candy coat it, or justify it, or do it "fairly." We don't do that with other sins.
Anger vs. Fighting
God is very clear that it is not a sin to "be angry", but in our anger we are to refrain from sinning, i.e.: not fight, quarrel or argue about it. See Ephesians 4:26. And, by the way, we are supposed to settle such disagreements before we go to bed or else we open our home and relationship open to invasion by the enemy.
James 4 tells us that "fighting and quarreling" come from a battle that wages within us. The battle of selfishness; of not having our expectations met or our deserve-its catered to; a battle we have waged internally since birth — not getting what we want. A four-year-old responds by stomping his feet, crying or throwing an all-out hissy fit on the floor. As grown-ups we have learned to take the frustration inward. We steam, we stew, we cuss, we fuss, we try to suppress until one day it can't be held back any longer and the dam breaks. The result is a grown up hissy fit. We nag, we nip, we diss, we jab with sarcasm. Our words and our tone destroy the oneness/intimacy we so desperately long for.
We lash out, we yell, we accuse, insinuate, blame and berate. We have not learned to harness our anger, so we sin. We hurt deeply, and saying "I'm sorry" hours later simply doesn't make up for the hurtful, hateful, sinful behavior we have unleashed.
Answer? If you profess to be a believer in Christ, the answer is - stop it. Turn to Him for help. Walk with Him. Be filled (continually) with His Spirit (Galatians 5). If you find you just can't control yourself — get help, now. Go to recovery. Get counseling. Find a mentor. Do whatever it takes to change. Like other sins, we cannot change ourselves. Only God can do that for us, but we have to want to. We have to choose to. Then we have to choose to live differently and walk daily with His help.
Fighting, quarreling, nagging, yelling and arguing have no place in a Christian marriage, or home. Remember — we are commanded by Jesus to "love one another as He loved us" and He doesn't treat us that way.
Also remember, one sure sign we are "filled with the Spirit" is that our relationships will be characterized by "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, kindness and self-control." If you aren't treating each other this way, you are not walking in the Spirit. It is that simple.
The problem is not your spouse. You need to get with God and work on your own problem(s).
It is to one's honor to avoid strife - Proverbs 20:3