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Fruit of the Spirit in Marriage: Peace

Do you want peace in your life and marriage? A simple search on the internet will yield a variety of prescriptions for achieving “inner peace.” We celebrate peace with a “Nobel Peace Prize.” We seek world peace. We send out “peacekeeping” forces.

And yet every day the fabric of families is torn apart by marriages that have failed to achieve peace. Peace robbers come in the form of conflict over: parenting, money, sex, personality differences, spiritual mis-match, unconfessed sin, stress, frustration and the list goes on and on and on. These are real issues that marriages face and have to address. As a result of these peace-robbers, marriages get ripped up through divorce, abuse, and estrangement. Too many couples are facing pain because they have not yet learned how to find and apply God’s peace to their marriage.

Are you a peacekeeper?

One of the reasons couples fail to find peace is because they confuse peacekeeping with peacemaking. Peacekeeping comes about through misguided but well-intended personal effort. Peacekeepers are placaters. They tend to smooth things over, avoid conflict, keep everyone unruffled. They postpone difficult conversations hoping they will just go away. But instead peacekeepers have a growing dis-ease and lack of peace because they know that what they avoided will only build and explode at some point in the future. They have achieved a temporary quiet but not true peace.

Are you a peacemaker?

A peacemaker works through the real issues to find the solution or compromise. Ronald Reagan wisely said, “Peace is not the absence of conflict. It is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9) If working through conflict is a challenge for you, we just picked up Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott’s book, The Good Fight, and recommend it!

Are you a peace-bringer?

A peace-bringer is someone who continually yields to God’s Spirit in them as a result of their relationship with Jesus. While the circumstances of life and marriage may be unsettling, it is the peace-bringer who intentionally chooses to take their concerns to God. They express thankfulness for what they have that is good from God.  They are realistic enough to acknowledge what is tough and lay that before God in prayer. It’s through that perspective of thanks and petition that God’s Spirit develops in us what the Bible describes as a “peace that transcends understanding.” (See Philippians 4:6-7)

So how does this play out in marriage? You have the unique privilege of being a peacemaker and peace-bringer in your marriage to your spouse. The only way this happens is by recognizing when there is stress, frustration, tension, trouble—and choosing to bring it to God first. Sometimes all you have time for is a: “God, help me and give me peace by your Spirit.” When you breathe that prayer, God will give you what you need in the moment. Ideally you can begin talking to God now for the hot-spots in your life and marriage. As you do, you are inviting and allowing the Spirit to strengthen you with God’s peace.

Choose today to pursue peace in your life and marriage through God’s presence and help as you build your marriage!