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Choose Peace

Yesterday I was preparing to teach my weekly men’s marriage class, and I came across an insightful comment in a classic Jewish source that I want to share.

In the book of Proverbs it says, “Hatred stirs up strife”. The 19th century sage, the Malbim, explains that this is referring to the strife that comes from a difference of opinion that needs to be resolved. In fact there is no need to get angry or emotional at all, it is only your negative attitude that pushes you into conflict. It is your subconscious desire to pick a fight that changes a difference of opinion into an argument. Hatred exists independently of any real cause, then takes over to distort your view of the situation.

When you wake up and start the day with a bad attitude, bringing with you a ton of bad feelings about the past, you are going to find yourself in conflict over the smallest things.

The verse in Proverbs goes on to say, “Love covers over all transgressions”. In the words of the Malbim, a person’s love casts a forgiving cloud even over real acts of injury against him.

When you wake up with a good attitude and with a decision that you are going to love and draw closer to your spouse today, that is what will happen. The small things you may not even notice, and the big things will be so much easier to move past.

Living with shalom bayis – marital harmony is a choice, if you chose negativity and resentment you will live in the world of conflict, if you chose love and forgiveness you will live in the world of togetherness and intimacy.

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