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Marriage: Duel or Duet

Love Worth Finding / Adrian Rogers
The Truth Network Radio
February 6, 2024 4:00 am

Marriage: Duel or Duet

Love Worth Finding / Adrian Rogers

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February 6, 2024 4:00 am

Sermon Overview

Scripture Passage: James 1:19; 3:5-8

Is it common to debate with your mate? Sure it is. Sometimes, spouses get into it. And sometimes, spouses stay in it.

The most important thing is not whether or not you have confrontations. It is how you handle them.

James 1:19 is a verse that changes duels into duets. It says, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.” Or, in simpler terms: “Tune in, tone down, sweeten up.”

Tune in: All communication begins with listening. Love your spouse with your ears.

Tone down: Learn the vicious power of the tongue. Words can give life, or they can rip everything to shreds. They can build a home, or they can burn it to the ground.

There are seven deadly games we often play with the tongue.

  1. The Judge. We blame and condemn our partners.
  2. The Professor. We act superior to our partners.
  3. The Psychologist. We try to analyze our partners.
  4. The Historian. We nitpick and overtly correct our partners.
  5. The Dictator. We give unfair ultimatums to our partners.
  6. The Critic. We criticize our partners.
  7. The Preacher. We try to be the Holy Spirit to our partners.

It’s harmful to play these word games with our spouses.

Sweeten up: Resolve your hurts, do not dissolve your home.

Don’t practice avoidance. Confront the situation at hand. We tend to back off and retreat when things get heated, thinking that the problem will go away on its own. It doesn’t.

Don’t practice appeasement. To compromise is one thing; that’s where both give. But to appease is something else. One person dominates the issue and the other is left to internalize their feelings. This will result in a much bigger issue later.

Don’t practice aggression. No sarcasm, no bullying. The Bible says “speak the truth in love.”

Choose the right time to discuss, with the right tone, on the right turf. Learn to practice accommodation. Practice acceptance. Make an adjustment. It’ll be worth it.

Apply it to your life

Would you describe your marriage as a duel or a duet? Take these principles outlined in this message and prayerfully apply them to your life. As Adrian Rogers instructed: learn to practice accommodation. Practice acceptance. Make an adjustment. It’ll be worth it.



Adrian Rogers was a motivator, an encourager, and a leader of the faith. He was also passionate about presenting scriptural application to everyday life circumstances, and you'll hear that in today's message.

Now, let's join Adrian Rogers. Well, the most important thing, believe it or not, is not whether or not you have confrontations. The most important thing is this, how do you handle those confrontations? Look in verse 19. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath. Better words, truer words, more helpful words could not be said in a shorter sentence. Now, what he's really saying is this, tune in, tone down, sweeten up.

That's what it says. Tune in, be swift to hear. Tone down, be slow to speak. Sweeten up, be slow to wrath.

Now, I want us to think about these things in some detail. First of all, he tells us that we are to tune in, and he's talking there about the awesome power of the listening ear. You know, the Bible says in Proverbs chapter 18 and verse 13, he that answereth the matter before he heareth it, it's a shame to him, and it is folly to him to speak before you listen. All good marriage communication or communication anywhere else begins with listening. Did you know that psychologists tell us that we really only catch about 20 percent of what we hear? Really, only about 20 percent.

Being a preacher, I think perhaps is less than that. And then, you know, so many times what we hear is not clear anyway. It's garbled. I picked up this sentence. I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. Have you ever listened to a person who talks that way? I mean, when they finish, you really don't even know what they have said, and you have to listen so carefully.

Now, for the sake of time, I'm going to buzz right past that and just say, tune in, learn to love your mate. Are you listening? With your ears and with your eyes.

Because there's verbal communication, there's visual communication. Tune in, listen. One man said, my wife goes around the house all day long just talking with herself.

His friend said, does she know she's doing it? I said, no, she thinks I'm listening to her. Now, listen.

Tune in. Begin to listen. Love with your ears and love with your eyes.

Secondly, tune in, tone down. Learn something of the awesome power of the tongue. Look, if you will, in chapter 3, verses 5 through 8. James says, even so the tongue is a little member and boasteth great things. Behold how great a matter a little fire can lift. Now, Mr. Torched Tongue, may I tell you, you can burn down your marriage with your tongue.

But now continue. And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. So is the tongue among our members that it defileth the whole body and seteth on fire the course of nature and is set on fire of hell.

For every kind of beast and of birds and of serpents and of things of the earth is tamed and hath been tamed of mankind. But the tongue can no man tame. Tiger Tongue, listen to me. You shred and claw with your mouth. We used to say sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.

That is absolutely absurd and silly. Your tongue can be like a vicious beast. And then let's continue to read. He goes on to say in this same chapter, speaking of the tongue, the tongue can no man tame. It is an unruly evil full of deadly poison. Tetanus Tongue, you poison love.

It always sounds so cute when we say these things. I'm always reminded when I think of Torch Tongue, Tiger Tongue, and Tetanus Tongue of Winston Churchill and Lady Astor, who were always at it. Lady Astor said to Winston Churchill, if I were your wife, I'd put arsenic in your tea. He said, madam, I can assure you that if you were my wife, I would gladly drink it. On another occasion it said that Winston Churchill was drunk, and Lady Astor said to him, Churchill, you are drunk. He said, that is true, and you are ugly.

But he said, tomorrow I will be sober. My dear friend, there are seven deadly games that people play with their tongue. I want you to listen to them. If you're married, don't play these games.

They're deadly. First of all, it is playing the judge. One partner assigns himself or herself the duty of being a judge, and as the judge, you blame and condemn your partner. Never condemn your partner. Never lay guilt on your partner. Never say to your partner, it's all your fault.

You should be ashamed. As a matter of fact, it's probably bad ever to start a sentence with you in an argument. You always are you never. You're almost always wrong when you use the word always. You always do this or you never do that.

Try this if you like to play judge, rather than saying you begin this way, I feel this way, or I think this, or it seems to me, or I need. Don't play judge, all right? Don't play professor. Now, there are those always in marriages who want to play the professor. That is, they want to talk down.

They want to act superior. And the marriage is full of constant put-downs and belittling. Where you say to your partner, hey, that's stupid.

If you had an ounce of brains, you'd know that's not right. Or you could never understand, you're not a woman. Or you could never understand, you're not a man. We put our mates down. One man said to his wife, I can't understand how God could have made you so beautiful and so dumb at the same time.

She said, it's simple. He made me beautiful so you'd be attracted to me and made me dumb so I'd be attracted to you. Constant put-downs. When you attack your partner's self-worth, when you belittle your partner, your partner is going to be defensive if you attack their self-worth. Don't play the psychologist.

That's the third game you don't want to play. Don't play the psychologist. Don't sit around and try to analyze your mate. Let me tell you why you said that. Let me tell you why you think that way. Well, why should you not do that? Because you don't know.

Probably they don't know either. You know, the apostle Paul said, it's a small thing with me that you judge me. He said, I don't even judge me. We'll wait until God comes.

Then every man shall have praise of God. Don't assign motives to your partner's heart. Don't play the psychologist. It's a deadly game. Don't play the historian.

That's another game that people play. They correct the details of every story that the partner says. Have you ever been out to supper and somebody's going to tell a story and they say, you know, last Tuesday we were going something. You say, no, dear, it wasn't Tuesday, it was Wednesday. No, it was Tuesday.

I know it was Wednesday because Wednesday is the day I take the lunch. Who cares? Don't, my dear friend, play the historian. Don't contradict or correct your mate unless it is necessary. And a lot of times we play the historian just to pull the smokescreen over the whole thing.

We're losing the argument. And so we just change the subject to something that happened way back yonder some other time. We just, you know, one man said every time we get in an argument, my wife gets historical. He said, you mean hysterical? He said, no, I mean historical.

She brings up everything out of the past and just resurrects these old things. Don't play the historian. Stick to the subject. Don't play the dictator.

That's another game that people play. They use force in the marriage. It might be just the force, verbal force. I will not allow that in my house. Or I demand that you do thus and such. My dear friend, you beware of ultimatums in marriage. Don't make ultimatums.

Worse than an ultimatum is a veiled threat. If you do that again, you wait. You'll see what happens. You don't say what it is. You just leave that up to the imagination.

Just try that one more time and you'll see what happens. You see, the dictator is the person who changes that marriage relationship from I do to you'd better. Let me tell you some clubs that the dictator uses. First of all, there's the physical thing. They're the men who strike their wives.

If you do that, sir, I'm telling you that there are very few people as low on the totem pole as you are. A man that would physically strike his wife. Sometimes wives physically beat up their husbands and they are physically stronger. Then there's the opposite of that. There's the dictator who doesn't use brute force. Neurotic invalids.

It's a form of dictatorship. There are those who withhold money in order to have their ways. There are some who withhold affection in order to have their ways.

There's the martyr who sulks and pouts. May I tell you that dictatorship in marriage is cruel. It leads to frustration. It says to the partner, I can do a better job with your life than you can.

It robs the other person of self-esteem. Don't assume the role of the dictator. Or then there's the critic. Playing the role of the critic. Don't condemn your partner and don't criticize your partner. But above all, don't compare your partner. Don't compare your mate with somebody else's mate.

Don't ever say, why can't you be like? Perhaps if you were married to the person that you're comparing with, you might have a different story. Don't compare your partner to her mother or his father. You're just like your mother. One man said to his wife, why can't you cook biscuits like my mama could?

She said, why don't you bring home dough like my daddy used to? Always comparing. Don't play the game of the critic. And never criticize something over which the other person has no control, like his parents or physical traits or attributes.

Last of all, here's another deadly game that you don't play. Don't play the preacher. We assume sort of a holier than thou attitude. We become his conscience. We try to be the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we use the Bible as a club to beat up our partner with. Now I'm not saying you ought not to share the Word of God. I'm not saying that you ought not to discuss the Word of God. But don't you, in a family discussion, get out your little pulpit wherever it may be and begin to preach to the other person.

It's destructive in marriage relationships. Share Scripture, yes. Build your life on the Word of God, yes. But don't pontificate with a holier than thou attitude. I remind you again of what Ruth Graham said. It is a wife's job to love her husband.

It is God's job to make him good. My dear friend, don't play these games. Now here's the third thing. Listen. Tune in, tone down, and sweeten up.

This verse says that you are to be slow to wrath. Now what you're to do is to resolve your hurts, not to dissolve your home. They can be resolved. I want to give you three dos and three don'ts, three things I want you, first of all, not to do if you're having a conflict. Number one, do not practice avoidance where you just retreat. You just avoid confrontation.

Somebody has written a book, and it is a good book, Caring Enough to Confront. Have you ever played this game in your home? Hey, is something wrong with you? No. Are you sure there's nothing wrong? No. There's nothing wrong.

Did you ever play that game? Well, I think there's something wrong. I told you, there's nothing wrong. And both of you know there's something very wrong. But we just tend to back off and retreat. We have the idea that it'll go away. Why do we retreat? For several reasons. Sometimes we fear the anger of our partners, so we just close up. Sometimes we're afraid we'll lose the argument. Sometimes we may be afraid if I don't retreat, our marriage will be broken. Sometimes, and I suppose this is the most insidious of all, we retreat because we're afraid if we get into an argument and a discussion, we might have to admit something about ourselves. We might have to see where we ourselves really are wrong, and so we just retreat. My dear friend, unresolved conflict is not really resolved by retreating.

It only gets worse. You may stuff it. You may repress it. But I will guarantee you your stomach will keep the score. If you have a problem, you shove it out the front door, refuse to discuss it.

It crawls around the house and comes in the basement window. Don't practice avoidance. The wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of an enemy.

Love your mate enough to confront. Number two, don't practice appeasement. Some don't avoid. They just appease. They just have the say-to, and then they give in. One person always seems to win, and the other person always seems to lose. One person always seems to dominate and get his or her way, and the other person simply appeases and gives ground. Now, to compromise is one thing. That's where both give. But to appease is something else.

Sometimes we appease and call it compromise. A man said, my wife and I had a disagreement about where we were going on our vacation. I wanted to go to the seashore. She wanted to go to the mountains.

So we compromised and went to the mountains. Now, this is what happens so many times in a marriage, where one person just simply gives. Now, what happens if you appease your husband, if you appease your wife?

Constant appeasement. You may think that you're solving the problem, but you're not solving the problem. What happens is you internalize the whole thing, and when he gets violent and you get silent, and you just internalize it, and you just give way and give way and give way and give way, it becomes in your heart like a smoldering rag, like oily rags put in a closet.

They may burn out, or they may break out and burn the house down. Now, if you aren't appeased, or I'll tell you what else you are, you're a person given to self-pity, you're a person who goes around with a martyr complex, you feel trapped because you know you'll never win, and while that marriage may stay together, you get an emotional divorce, which is tragic. Do not practice avoidance, do not practice appeasement, and do not practice aggression. Now, when you hear me say don't avoid and don't appease, you think I mean attack, but I do not. Do not practice aggression. You must face your partner, but the Bible says speak the truth in love.

Tune in, tone down, and sweeten up. Sarcasm is never in order. I have told you before, and I want to tell you again, there are few problems that husbands and wives cannot solve if they will attack the problem rather than one another. And in order to do that, you've got to start at the right time. Choose your time to have a discussion. Sometimes, unfortunately, we can't always do that. But I said don't avoid an argument. Avoid it at certain times, right before dinner avoid it, when your blood sugar is low. Psychologists tell us that 90% of family arguments begin just before meal time, 90%.

Or have you ever been on your way to a social event? You get in an argument where then you feel trapped because you have to turn around and go back home or go into that event with a smile on your face and you know on the inside that your guts are just churning. Choose the right time. Use the right tone when you confront. The Bible says a soft answer turneth away wrath.

The right time, the right tone, the right turf. Have you ever noticed that maybe the person who is an appeaser or the person who does retreat will sometimes come out of their shell when company is around and they will criticize their partner or assassinate their partner when other friends are around? Do you know why they do that? It's a secret desire to hurt their partner. A secret desire to embarrass their partner. And they feel they can do it there because they had him trapped and he cannot react.

And what it is is a cheap shot. My dear friend confront, but do it the right time, the right tone, the right turf. Now those are three things don't do. Don't withdraw, don't appease, and don't attack. But now let me tell you three things to do. We're talking now about being slow to wrath, how to sweeten up.

Number one, learn to practice accommodation. Did you know that you need to learn to say I will change? So many times we want to change our partner. You are to change you. You have desires for your partner but goals for yourself. You change you. And you can change your partner by changing you because now he has to react to someone different and you have changed. And you do that by what we call accommodation.

Now let me show you how it works. For example, suppose there's a wife who says my husband and I don't spend enough time together. He doesn't give me enough time. Well, how could she accommodate him, for example?

Well, she might learn a sport that he loves and maybe they can play that sport together and she takes up his sport. Practice the art of accommodation. All of us can accommodate our partners to some degree.

And it's not just that wives have to accommodate husbands or husbands have to accommodate wives. Number two, practice not only accommodation but practice acceptance. Make up your mind in accommodation you say I change. In acceptance you say he may never change.

She may never change. So I accept it. I just accept my partner. Now, you know, there are certain things we have to accept about others and they're different.

They may not be wrong or you may not be wrong. Joyce and I are so different. Joyce and I came from in many ways the same background. We have been grade school sweethearts. I met Joyce in the fourth grade and we didn't get serious until the sixth grade. Now, I've known Joyce all of her life.

Just about she's known me. But in the Gentry household there were never any little witticisms, never any little jokes. In the Rogers household they flew back and forth all the time.

I mean, you had to duck and you'd get hit in the crossfire, all good nature. But just constantly back and forth like that. Well, to me if you love somebody you tease them. Joyce said, just say what you mean and mean what you say. Well, who's right? I am, of course.

No, listen. They're just different. Around our house we didn't make a lot of birthdays or special events or to send cars. But around her house those were the big days and you certainly did that. Well, who's right or who's wrong?

I'm afraid she is. But I really wasn't wrong. It's just the way I was raised. And you just have to accept how the other person is. You see, something, getting married is like buying a phonograph record.

You buy because of what you want on one side, you just take what comes on the other side. You just accept your mate. Now, dear friend, listen, there is accommodation, there is acceptance, and last of all there's adjustment.

And this is the best. In accommodation I change. In acceptance I make up my mind they'll never change. But in adjustment we both change.

And that's so wonderful. When both change, when we adjust, Joyce turns into a pumpkin about 9 o'clock at night. I mean, she'd just disappear. She'd be sitting there and at suppertime if it's too late her face may fall on the plate.

I mean, she'd just go to sleep. Now, the longer I go the faster my engine runs. And I mean it just seems a shame to me to go to bed at 11 o'clock or something like that or 12 o'clock because I'm just getting started. I mean, the longer I go the stronger I get. In the morning it's hard to get to bed off my back. I cannot.

It's just hard. Now, I don't want you to think I lay in. I have to get up. But I tell you it's a battle. But she wakes up, boing, da-da-da-da-da-da. I wake up to Joyce rushing around the house singing and everything, boy. Now, what do you do when you get a lark and an owl? Well, you have adjustment.

Once I go to bed a little earlier, she stays up a little later. You see, that's adjustment. Rather than having a war where both lose, you have a compromise where both gain a little bit. Don't avoid it. Don't appease. Don't attack. But on the other hand, my dear friend, accommodate, accept, adjust.

It'll be worth it. Let me share with you what Peter Marshall had to say. He said this about marriage. He said, dearly beloved, the marriage relation, when rightly understood and properly appreciated, is the most delightful as well as the most sacred and solemn of all human relations. It is the clasping of hands, the blending of lives and the union of hearts that too may walk together up the hill of life to meet the dawn, together bearing life's burdens, discharging its duties, sharing its joys and sorrows. Marriage is more than moonlight and roses. It is much more than the singing of love songs and the whispering of vows of undying affection. In our day, it is by many lightly regarded and by many as lightly discarded. But marriage will ever remain in the sight of God, an eternal union made possible only by the gift of love which God alone can bestow. And that is so true. My dear friend, marriages are kept alive by God's grace. Father God, remind us one more time, except the Lord build the house.

They labor in vain that build it. And Father, how I pray in the mighty name of Jesus that there will be those today who will say an everlasting yes to you and be saved. Hear our prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen. If you would like to learn more about how you can know Jesus or deepen your relationship with Him, simply click the Discover Jesus link on our website, For a copy of this message or additional resources, visit our online store at or call 1-800-274-5683. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-02 00:07:24 / 2024-05-02 00:17:16 / 10

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