by Timothy Kieswetter
I would like to start today’s article with one of Solomon’s wisdoms. When it came to marital doings, he knew what he was talking about. With a thousand women, he certainly may not have done everything right, but he definitely knew that everything in a marriage can go either wrong or right.
“Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions…”
This might be such a simple short verse, but it contains a deep and powerful truth. Hate brings arguments and love covers what was done wrong.
Visualize that your marriage has two rooms. There is a hate-room and a love-room. The room in which you live, is the room that will affect your marriage the most.
You might think that hate is a terribly strong word to use. After all, you do not have hate in your heart for your husband or wife. Our first thought of hate is those emotions that you feel just before you kill someone, and because you do not really want to kill your spouse, you do not really hate the person. Therefore I want to show you that hatred, like any other emotion, has degrees of intensity. And no matter how cute your husband or wife is, we all have a “hate-room” in our hearts.
There are some key differences between our hate-room and our love-room that will indicate in which room we spend most of our time.
- Hate is motivated by what is right and wrong, true love is motivated by grace. If you are constantly focused on the right and wrong in your marriage, it’s always going to evoke bitterness and hate emotions rather than grace and forgiveness.
- Hate will always focus on a person’s behaviour, whereas love will try to see the bigger picture. For example, your husband comes home drunk, and you immediately zoom in on his negative behaviour, this immediately places you in your hate-room. But if you are in your love room, you will always try to put your husband’s behaviour into CONTEXT. You ask for context by grace, not by cross-examination. Then you might find out that he lost his job, or his father died and you are able to (because love always pursues the context and not the behaviour) promote intimacy, instead of hostility.
- Hate will always make you the victim. You start feeling sorry for yourself because you deserve better. Keep feeling sorry for yourself long enough and you will be one step closer to falling into the clutches of depression. Love on the other hand, is NOT focused on the OWN I, but the brokenness of the other person. Because it sees the bigger picture and understands the context of your partner’s behaviour, you have the emotional capacity to NOT make this YOUR battle, but to see and acknowledge your partner’s cry for attention and acceptance.
Broken people use negative behaviour to get attention and love. This is not the best way to get any of the two. So, when we stay in our hate-rooms we will give exactly the opposite of what the broken person needs. We’ll just deepen their brokenness and thus remain trapped in the negative and unhealthy cycle of behaviour.
- Hate judges a person on what he has done. It is great at digging up old cows and makes a habit of linking a person’s value and character to their mistakes. Hate never lets the past rest and keeps the person from ever moving on with their life or making right what had gone wrong. The offense will forever hang, like a sword, over the person’s head.
Love works a little differently. Love doesn’t connect a person’s value to what they do or didn’t do, but focusses on the divine potential in every person. It speaks to the good and beautiful in everyone.
In what room do you find yourself?
What kind of atmosphere is present in your marriage? Quarrel or peace? Hate or love?
The door between your hate-room and your love room contains FORGIVENESS. Start today by forgiving yourself, forgive the people around you and forgive God. Move out of your hate-room and come into your love-room, where you can experience peace and quiet.