Couples Devotional: The Shoebox

In your anger do not sin! Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. –Ephesians 4:26-27

I read a humorous story about a man and woman who had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the woman had a shoebox in the top of her closet about which she had cautioned her husband never to open. Over the years, the man forgot about the box until the woman became very sick.

While sorting out their affairs, the elderly man took down the shoebox and took it to his wife’s bedside. She agreed that it was time for him to know the contents of the box. When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $25,000.

Curious, the man asked her about the contents. “When we were to be married,” she began, “my grandmother told me the secret to a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.” The man was so moved he had to fight back tears.

Only two precious dolls were in the box. Apparently, she had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness.

“Honey,” he said, “that explains the dolls, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?” “Oh,” she said, “That’s the money I made from selling all the dolls.”

I’ll admit, I got a good chuckle from this story, but in reality, it’s no way to handle conflict in marriage. In the above Scripture, Paul warns us not to end a day angry. Anger is a powerful tool used by the devil who revels in seizing any opportunity to increase division between spouses.

Unresolved anger leads to bitterness, a lack of forgiveness, and can cause immeasurable pain in, and damage to your marriage. Today, choose to be a peacemaker and resolve any outstanding conflict you may have with your spouse.

• How has anger caused problems in our marriage? In what ways do we each find it difficult to deal with anger towards one another? What do we each feel is a personal key to helping us deal with anger more constructively?
• What are some ways that working through our anger can serve to strengthen our marriage?
• Is there any unresolved anger or conflict between us today? How can work together toward resolving lingering issues?

Set aside a time together in a comfortable spot free from everyday distractions. Together, plan out a practical strategy for not “letting the sun go down on your anger” with one another. Make a commitment to each other to follow the plan. Pray together, asking God to help you to honor Him by the way you choose to resolve conflict with each another.

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Leslie Snyder

Leslie is a wife, mother, youth ministry veteran and long-time member of the HomeWord daily devotional writing team. Along with her family, she lives in Walla Walla, Washington where she is the owner and personal trainer at Redefine Fitness and Nutrition.

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