Welcome to my new BLOG on “Relationship Wisdom.” Each entry in the BLOG will take a pithy saying from the Bible, or an ancient or modern author and comment about the saying and how it gives us wisdom about our relationships with others. The focus will be primarily on marital relationships, but we’ll branch out now and again on various other relationships as well. My goal is at least one BLOG entry per week. Maybe once in awhile I can do more than that. We’ll see. Like all BLOGs, this is a work in progress.
For years I’ve read a chapter in Proverbs every day. Proverbs is a Wisdom book in the Bible with 31 chapters so you can read a chapter corresponding to the day of the month. So if today is the 19th of February, the chapter to read in Proverbs would be Proverbs 19. These Proverbs are pithy, quotable, memorable sayings that are often listed in no particular order. For example, in Chapter 19 there are 29 verses or sayings. Here’s an example of three verses in a row:
11 A man’s wisdom gives him patience;
it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
12 A king’s rage is like the roar of a lion,
but his favor is like dew on the grass.
13 A foolish son is his father’s ruin,
and a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping.
(This quote comes from verses 11-13 using the New International Version. I just cut and pasted this from an online Bible located at biblegateway.com. There are many other English versions available at this web site as well as other languages such as Spanish.)
You’ll note that these Proverbs are two line sayings. Sometimes one line will stand alone. Sometimes one line expands the other. Sometimes one line contrasts with the other. In the case above all 3 verses deal with anger in a different way: verse 11 says patience (the opposite of anger) enables a person to be forgiving; verse 12 says that anger in a leader scares people away; verse 13 says that anger in marriage wears people out. None of the verses use the word “anger” but this subject is behind them and ties them together. Quite often the verses in Proverbs have no relationship at all and appear quite random. Even the 3 above seem random until you stop and think about their relationship.
You can see from the sample above how relevant these sayings can be for relationships. In three short sayings in addition to anger we have the topics of patience, forgiveness, leadership, father-son relationships and the effects of an unhappy spouse. Even though Proverbs was written 3000 years ago they are still relevant for today. Since I’ve read these so often, many of them are in my memory and come to mind when I’m doing therapy. I use them all the time to give people advice as part of my work. Sometimes I may let the client know where the wisdom came from and sometimes not. It just depends. After awhile, these sayings become part of the way a person thinks. The wisdom is at your fingertips when you need it.
These sayings are short and easy to memorize. If they are memorized they will be in your brain when you need them. For example, if your spouse does something irritating and you are tempted to bear a grudge, the saying “it’s to my glory to overlook an offence” (verse 11 above) can soothe your soul so you will resist the urge to lash out in anger or to put up a wall of revenge against your spouse. It’s pretty hard to be married for very long and not need a good dose of forgiveness. Anger screams “YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO BE ANGRY. LASH OUT! BE MEAN BACK! DEFEND YOURSELF!” and wisdom whispers “hey….cool it. Let it go. Don’t take it personally. Lighten up. Life’s too short. Overlook the offense.”
So…welcome to my BLOG on relationship wisdom. Stop back often for a little pick-me-up. And for today you can start an experiment: overlook others’ seeming offenses to you and see if your day isn’t just a little brighter, your burdens just a tad lighter and other’s treatment of you a bit warmer.