SEPTEMBER 1

You're Making This Worse

He who separates himself seeks his own desire, he quarrels against all sound wisdom. PROVERBS 18:1

I had spent a busy day wrapping up last-minute details, preparing to leave for a conference the next morning. I came home that evening, however, to a wife who had experienced a hard day herself—a very hard day with the kids. She needed to talk. But I was still busy.

I remember picking up the phone to make one last important call, when Barbara said, "Please don't get on the phone right now. If you do, I'm going upstairs."

I couldn't help it. I really needed to make that call. So I did. And that was the first of my mistakes. The moment I hung up, my mom called. We chatted for about 20 minutes. Then, feeling a little guilty, I began cleaning the kitchen, snapping on the television to keep me company. But by the time I finished, I was halfway interested in a show.

When Barbara finally came down to demand I make some time for her, there I was—sitting in front of the TV. Busted.

I'm sure it would come as no surprise to tell you that the temperature dropped to about 40 below zero in our home that night. Barbara got so mad that when our disagreement headed to the bedroom, she whacked me hard on the head with a pillow. I remember turning my face to the wall as I tried to go to sleep, consumed with anger and how to get even. (Don't tell me you've never done that.) It was bad.

I think I'll leave it there for today and finish the story tomorrow. But till then, I want you to see how one mistake in judgment led to another. Every attempt to avoid confrontation did nothing but make the final confrontation worse. When you realize you're acting up, now is the time to stop it and make things right. Do not keep adding fuel to the fire.

DISCUSS

In what ways do you get yourself into trouble with your spouse?

PRAY

Desire self-control. It's a fruit of the Spirit. Ask God how to make it grow in you.

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