He must needs go through Samaria. (John 4:4) I have always liked that passage of scripture as it embodies the passion and determination Jesus had for His ultimate mission of SALVATION.
Jesus had to go through Samaria because He had a spiritual appointment with a spiritually bankrupt lady. The woman at the well was a mess. She had been married five times and the man she was currently with was not her husband either. While Jesus was well aware of her situation, He did not come to this appointment with condemning stones in His hand. Instead, He came with Living Water. He was not concerned about her soiled past, their cultural differences or that His Jewish brethren snobbishly despised Samaritans. In the woman at the well, He had a spiritual appointment with a sinner in need of a Savior. He was concerned about quenching her spiritual thirst.
Paul provides us with a wonderful word picture of this unifying mindset of Jesus. He says "And He came and preached peace to you who were far away (Gentiles) and peace to those who were near (Jews); for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. (Ephesians 2:17-18) While aware of the differences that have separated them, Paul is not emphasizing them. Instead, he is illuminating their commonality. They have been united together in Christ Jesus.
In marriage, it is very tempting to highlight our thorny differences. We say, he is too quite. She is too chatty. She spends too much money. He is too frugal. She is bringing the pain from previous relationships into the marriage. He is still trying to define himself as a man since he did not have a father figure in his life as a child. However, one of the keys to a successful marriage is not allowing our spouse's faults to cloud our entire view of the marriage. We cannot allow a summer rain shower to become a hurricane. Yes they hurt us; but, they are still the same person we fell in love with. Yes they hurt us; but as we take a look at the BIG PICTURE, this issue is not encompassing of the entire relationship. The pain and frustration we are currently experiencing does not define us as a couple. So we hate the sin but love the person. We do not allow Satan to use our differences and individual sins as a weapon against one another. We are not enemies living in the same house merely going through the motions. We are lovers who have issues that are not insurmountable in Christ Jesus.
So many times in a disagreement, we want to focus on the negative. He did this and she did that. This negativity muffles our chances of finding peace and resolving the disagreement. How can I hear your point of view if you have placed me in a defensive posture via your verbal attacks? How can we find creative solutions to our issues if we are constantly focusing on the negative aspects of our differences?
Now we are not suggesting that you ignore your differences and the inevitable issues they generate. This will only produce quasi peace which will eventually result in a volcanic explosion. Instead, we are advocating positive productive communication that generates effective problem resolution. We cannot find a firm sustainable resolution to the issue if we merely want to vent our frustration about the issue. Yes, we are mad! But how do we find and implement a resolution that is agreeable for both parties.
The old hymn says "there is a bright side somewhere…don't you stop until you find it, there is a bright side somewhere". In Him, we find the bright side. In Him, we can identify the issue and talk about it. In Him, we can extend the same grace and mercy to one another that God has given to us. In Him, we can overcome any obstacle placed in our past.
It's our choice. On one hand, we can accentuate our differences and verbally assault one another. On the other hand, we can identify our differences and find the strength to work through them in Him. Personally speaking, we have chosen the latter. Try it and watch Your Marriage Succeed.