SKILLFUL (Article) by Abidan Paul Shah
(Published in the newspaper Daily Dispatch, Henderson on February 11, 2020)
Proverbs 3:13 “Happy is the person who finds skill in living, and the person who gains a sense of discernment.”
Every profession requires a certain set of skills. A teacher has to gain education and learn how to communicate, among many other things. A law enforcement officer has to go through Basic Law Enforcement Training. A surgeon has to go to medical school and learn how to perform surgeries. A coach has to learn the rules and strategies of the sport she is coaching, and some experience playing is a big plus. A plumber needs the right tools for the job and know how to use them. Accidents happen when people are inadequately trained; they use the wrong tools for the job; or they overestimate their abilities and misjudge their obstacles. So also, in marriage, people lack the essential skills they need in order to be happy. As a pastor for 21 years, I’ve seen people make some foolish and costly decisions in their marriages due to inadequate and faulty training.
What are some of these skills required to have a happy and successful marriage? For starters, both husbands and wives have to learn the general differences between a man and a woman. Of course, these can be generalizations, but they matter. Both have to take the time to get to know each other’s likes and dislikes. Failure to properly understand your spouse’s upbringing is one of the leading causes of endless conflicts. We have a lot of misunderstandings here. They also need a sense of discernment in deciding what matters and what doesn’t. Some people argue over the silliest things. The question to ask is – “Will that matter in eternity?” Learning how to resolve arguments and move forward is also a skill. Unfortunately, many times we get the wrong skills from watching bad examples growing up. The point of all this is that these skills do not come automatically. They have to be acquired through proper study and training; hopefully, under the guidance of someone well-qualified to train.
Skillful living in marriage comes when we turn to God for wisdom and guidance. The Book of Proverbs is filled with wisdom on how to have a happy and successful marriage. Here are just a few examples: 12:18 “There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health.” 17:14 “The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.” 24:3-4 “Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” 26:20 “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no gossip, strife ceases.” That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much there that can help any marriage. Billy Graham would reach a chapter from the Book of Proverbs every day. He famously said that God had providentially given us 31 chapters in Proverbs, one for every day of the month! Along with reading it is important to attend marriage seminars and conferences designed to help couples. On March 7, 2020, Clearview Church is hosting the One Extraordinary Marriage Conference with Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo, hosts of the top-rated marriage podcast. This is a must for every couple, even singles who desire a godly relationship. Register now.
Ultimately, true wisdom is Christ. When he becomes our life, we begin to live skillfully, especially in our marriage relationship.