We’ve all heard that “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1), but watching a debate is worth a thousand words.
Tonight is the final presidential debate of the United States Presidential Election 2012. Last week’s was full of drama and left some biting their nails, some sweating bullets, and others kneeling in prayer. I gave some encouragement for how to respond here. Since marriage is so near and dear to my heart, the longer I mulled over the two men sparring on stage, the more I saw some rules of the married road popping out at me.
Each of these lessons reinforces the truth that gentleness tones down someone who’s “all torn up” about something (I TOTALLY borrowed that from Tennessee where I first heard this awesome expression!). If you watch tonight, I want to challenge you to lay the debate dynamics over married life and see how “harsh words” (or body language or facts or suggestions, etc) can truly stir up the person you’re with, your spouse, or your whole nation for that matter!
We know Mitt Romney and Barack Obama aren’t trying to “make new friends” of each other on the debate stage, but their exchanges show us so much about our nature as people. Let’s gain some valuable insight into relationships by watching two would-be-presidents of 2013 debate one another as the world watches!
This is what I remembered about relationships as I watched the Debates 2012…
10 Debate Lessons for Marriage
- Your spouse is not your opponent; you are one.
- If only one wins, you both lose.
- Passionately pointing your finger at someone is a fighting stance.
- If you debate when people are watching, it gets more intense.
- Body language says as much as words; watch your eye rolling and laughing.
- If you spend too many days preparing, it’s likely to come out as ammunition.
- A husband and wife should do more than shake hands and walk away after debating.
- An hour and a half is too long to have an intense debate … er, discussion.
- If you discuss intensely when you’re over-tired, you’re likely to get careless with your words.
- The only moderator who is totally objective is God, and He’s available for your next “debate.”
“Harsh words” aren’t always just words. To be “harsh” is to be considered grievous, offending, and causing pain. And the “words” can be speaking, utterances, and things we do. We may have offensive speaking under control, but we may still cause pain with our body language, our tone, our choice of timing, and our final response. We may do grievous “things” to our spouse instead of lovingly and gently discussing the matters between us.
Tonight’s Presidential Debate
Tonight two opponents will square off with intensity that has been building up for days as they’ve refined their word choice, gathered their facts, filed away mental examples, and rallied their supporters to watch and cheer. Their bodies will be poised to appear strong and forceful, unyielding, controlling and victorious. They will be prepared to outplay, outlast, and outwit each other, and ultimately … only one can win. The other will go away defeated. May this never be said of a husband and wife who have pledged their lives as one.
What have you learned about relationships from watching the debates?